Uber chief executive wheels out expansion plans involving bikes and buses

 
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Khosrowshahi outlined some big ambitions
Khosrowshahi outlined some big ambitions (Source: Getty)

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s new chief executive, has revealed he wants to drive ahead with a new expansion plan using buses and bikes.

He made the announcement today during a Goldman Sachs-hosted conference in San Francisco, while publicly outlining his long-term plan for the first time.

“I want you to be able to take an Uber and get into the subway… get out and have an Uber waiting for you,” Khosrowshahi said during his speech.

His goal is to run the bus system for a city, and has already signalled intentions on the bike front with a partnership with the San Francisco bike-sharing startup Jump. It is currently the only company permitted to operate dockless bike-sharing in the city, though many other large places, including London, have implemented similar schemes.

Read more: TfL plans harsher rules for Uber

While cities ran into problems with bikes getting hacked and left in random places around the city, Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy and research, told TechCrunch last month that the company had eyed biking for a while. They thought testing the idea, called Uber Bike, with Jump seemed like a good starting point.

“It fits into this larger vision, we think, that there can be multiple modes of transportation that can be made available through the Uber app,” he said. “You don’t do a pilot if you don’t have hopes to make it a vision for the future.”

Khosrowshahi acknowledged that exploring these new ventures could exacerbate the company’s money loss — just the day before, Uber reported a $4.5bn loss in 2017 with $7.5bn of sales — but said this expansion was the correct strategy.

“The business that was handed to me was better business than I thought,” Khosrowshahi said. “My father always told me if you can run a verb, say ‘yes.’”

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