Uber has disrupted industries, grown at a breakneck pace, and spawned a million think pieces. It threatens to end the taxi industry and has brought the gig industry to the mainstream. Hardly a month goes by without a new piece on how Uber is disrupting the industry by lowering prices, rolling out new plans or just doing something “different.” Most recently, Uber made headlines for rolling out self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. Self-driving cars are possibly the biggest disruption ever. But just how innovative is Uber’s new plan? I’m saying no, not innovative. Uber is just going to become an optimized bus.
1. Uber’s biggest expansion will be in Uberpool
Uberpool is a way to maximize value by putting multiple passengers into one car. Unavoidably, someone has to wait, but prices can be up to 40% lower compared to UberX. Uberpool is slowly readjusting high-income people to sharing their rides.
2. Uber encourages use by commuters
Uber has shown numbers multiple times saying that it is cheaper than owning a car. Uberpool is also most popular during peak commuting hours. No doubt due to the fact most people are going from one defined area to another defined area.
3. Uber’s Fixed Plan
Uber recently released plans to have a fixed price on certain rides. The plan sounds suspiciously like a bus.
4. Optimizing Routes
It’s not hard to imagine that self-driving cars will continue to optimize routes along with times to pick people up. Uber could eventually roll out a plan that optimizes times for you. For example, leaving 5 minutes earlier to give you $2 off at a coffee shop. It’s easy to see how people would start signing up for this system, especially if they had already had an informal contract with Uber.
5. Uber’s Self-Driving Cars are the key to Uber’s long-term
Uber lost a billion dollars in the first half of this year. Even though everyone wants to invest in Uber now, soon they will have to be independently profitable. Uber heavily subsidizes its own drivers. The only way to keep their prices low is to ultimately not have the cost of drivers. While Uber starts to transition to self-driving cars, it’s easy to see how they could easily start riding code to say have a 8 person car. The underlying technology to create a self-driving car will be scaled.
It’s a long way from when Uber first burst on the scene with the idea of being everyone’s personal driver. Now it looks like it’s becoming people who don’t want to take public transportation’s bus. I checked, it’s short enough fit in a twitter status.
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