With IPO due, Uber aims to be ‘Amazon of transportation’, Latest Business News - The New Paper

With IPO due, Uber aims to be ‘Amazon of transportation’

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SANTA MONICA Uber, the ride-sharing behemoth set to launch a stock offering soon, is aiming beyond sharing car rides to becoming the "Amazon of transportation" in a future where people share instead of owning vehicles.

The California-based start-up laid out its vision of a transformed world of personal mobility as it steered towards a keenly anticipated stock market debut that will follow an initial public offering of shares by US rival Lyft announced on Friday.

"Cars really were, for us, a kind of starting place," said Uber's transportation policy and research chief Andrew Salzberg.

"Once we've built this platform for mobility, there are a whole host of business lines we can build beyond that."

Said Mr Nick Foley, head of product for Jump, the electric bike start-up acquired by Uber: "The idea that every time you walk outside there is this electric, fun-to-ride vehicle waiting to take you to your next destination is really incredible.

"It is more than just an app to book a bike; it is an app where you can have reliable micro mobility booking or you could book a car if the weather isn't nice."

Mr Foley believed that a shift to mobility as a smartphone-summoned-service will alter lifestyles as dramatically as did the mass market debut of the automobile.

Combining electric motors with lightweight scooters or bicycles, and having them on streets to be used on demand, provides an ideal method of getting around in traffic-troubled cities, according to Uber.

Electric bicycles and scooters can get people efficiently to destinations in congested downtowns, where they can switch to public transit or car-ride sharing.

Uber's effort to be an all-encompassing platform for getting around includes adding e-scooter rival Lime and city transit services to its smartphone application, along with improving features designed to get people to travel together instead of riding solo. - AFP