Uber and Europe: Partnering to Enable City Transformation

DLD conference

Our cities are increasingly growing, so new ways of transportation are absolutely required. From Barcelona through Budapest right up to Stockholm, with Uber you’ll find your destination.

It was one of the rare talks of Uber-founder Travis Kalanick and he chose DLD to talk about Uber.

He explained that Uber started as an unambiguous simple idea as he and his co-founder spent some time in Paris. It's hard to call a taxi in Paris, especially at night, a little bit drunk, getting back to the hotel from a bar. Why not just clicking on a button on the smartphone? Push a button and get a ride. Simple as it can be. Back in San Francisco they started Uber as a side project, because San Fran is quite similar. They started with 100 friends and promised no more driving, no more looking for parket lots, no cash needed, and a service level offered with a five star rating of the driver. After a short while they had to open up the project to the public - everyone in the city wanted this service called Uber.

Kalanick's goal is now: more riders, more cars, lower pick-up times. If this happens drivers waisting less time to pick up people and earn more money. Uber wants to become more efficient with an higher income for their drivers and lover prices for the guests. That's why uberPOOL is existing. Often people have the same way at the same time, maybe to get to a concert - uberPOOL was born as a ride-sharing tool. The goal is to get more cars off the road and parking lots, the drivers will have always a customer in their cars, pick off one, stoping for another one on the same route. Like on a bus: you get out where you want, but with Uber it's possible to do this on-demand.

The vision behind is to have efficiencies to get the price low enough to make your car obsolete. A cheap ride with Uber should be more attractive than an own car. The philosophy would be to offer always an available ride within 5 minutes. But now, Uber only offers its service in 270 cities worldwide - and there are 1 Billion cars outside, 96% of them unutilized, standing 23 hours every day somewhere in the city. 15% of city spaces are used for storage of cars, we even have special buildings for storing our cars! If we can reduce those cars, if we own fewer cars because of Uber-like ecosystems we will reduce traffic, parking problems and even carbon dioxide.

Uber is also creating new jobs. In San Francisco where they launched 4.5 years ago 1.6 Million unique riders used Uber and more than 7,600 full-time jobs were created, in New York 13,750 jobs and 1.9 Million riders in 3.5 years, London 900,000 riders and 10,000 full-time jobs in 2.5 years. Amazing grows are predicted for the future - a huge opportunity for unemployed and underemployed people to earn money, not only put food on the table of their families.

But a lot of regulations to protect taxi services will slow the growing of Uber, Kalanick said. But protecting a business like this? In New York you need to pay at least 40,000 $ a year for a taxi driver's license. The taxi driver should drive a Bentley, Kalanick joked about it. To emancipate this business we need a change in a lot of countries. Why not allowing the drivers to use different plattforms to offer rides for making enough money for living?

It seems altruistic but Kalanick mentioned some really good points. And Uber wants to create 50,000+ jobs in Europe in 2015 and wants to take of 400,000 cars off EU streets building partnerships here on Data and Tech. Security and having just started in a city with not enough drivers will be the main issues to solve this year to grow like expected. But with 500 Million Dollars earned only in San Francisco it should be possible to face the problems and at least solve them - even with disrupting an "old ecosystem", because many people feel safer in a Uber car than in a taxi, Kalanick told us.

Mentioned in this live blog

Travis kalanick bw
Travis Kalanick
Co-Founder and CEO
San Francisco

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