Wow! Uber is 5 year old. It has become such a regular part of my everyday that it’s hard to imagine life without it. There was a lot of coverage about the celebrations that took place for their 5th birthday but the thing that really stood out was reading Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s vision for the future.
What’s Kalanick’s vision for the future?
To make Uber so inexpensive that it’s cheaper than owning a car, but also even taking public transportation. Uber will go where transit won’t, he says, and will deliver riders to their destinations more safely and efficiently. “This is our ultimate vision of the future,” Kalanick says. “Smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access”
I definitely agree that transportation is changing in cities – particularly cities with lackluster public transportation (i.e. San Francisco) But I don’t agree that Uber will become the main form of transportation for people across the nation.
I have to admit that I do indeed take Uber Pool (or Lyft Line) to and from work every single day. But I’m not loyal to either one – I just need a ride. And I know a lot of people that are fiercely loyal to Lyft as well as Sidecar – If anything, I think more options will pop up giving Uber more competition.
In his vision, Kalanick states that he sees this becoming cheaper than Muni. But so far, I’ve just seen prices increase for UberPool and I can almost never get an UberX that isn’t surging – pushing me over to Lyft and Sidecar. And OK I’m not even including Muni as an option there, but it’s not about the price as much as it is about the convenience of the time I save.
I’ve recently been contemplating selling my car so that I no longer have a car payment, insurance, and garage rent to pay – especially since I take these car services so much. But there are a number of things that I really enjoy about Uber…
- I get an opportunity to meet and connect with really interesting people via my daily Uber Pool commute. Ands any day that I get to connect with people is a good one.
- It is a much lovelier experience than taking Muni or having to deal with parking (especially in less than desirable neighborhoods)
- Occasionally I get a driver that really goes above and beyond. I recently had an Uber driver pull over at a gas station to buy me water because he didn’t have any in the car when I asked him.
But, there is something I LOVE about my car – sometimes I just like that alone time to belt out songs where no one can hear my tone-deaf voice. And going for a drive is something that can often clear my mind… some of my best thinking happens in there! PLUS with the addition of services like Getaround I can rent out my car for all of my Uber-filled days to help offset the cost.
So, in the end I feel like there are lots of holes in the details that Kalenick shared. I’m sure Uber has lots up their sleeve that goes beyond the current offering of services – but without knowing more about them it’s hard to say.
The whole transportation industry is exploding with alternatives to driving a car and taking public transportation. Services like Chariot and Loup run on designated routes in the comfort of a car and cost less than Uber Pool – and let’s not forget all of the research and innovation around making self-driving cars a reality. Uber definitely did a great job of leading the charge over the past 5 years – but, with new and creative alternatives popping up it, feels like we’re just at the beginning of figuring out what’s possible.