Uber announced its newest products: Conversation-free car trips and helicopter rides.
In May, Uber launched the “quiet mode” for their products, Uber Black and Uber Black SUV. The services would allow customers to enjoy car rides without distractions from the drivers.
Drivers drum up extra points whenever they engage in light conversation with their riders. From the drivers’ perspective, connecting and engaging customers will encourage high ratings and repeat business. However, there some customers who would prefer to stay silent during their commute.
Riders may now choose the option “quiet mode” to signal the driver and avoid disturbance such as “small talks.” Customers may opt for this feature and take a nap or answer emails without worrying about proper social conducts.
Aside from the “quiet mode” feature, Uber also announced Uber Copter, its proposed solution for the increasing road traffic. The service offers 8-minute trips from Housten Street to JFK International Airport.
The ride-sharing giant offers helicopter rides costing $200 per one-way trip. It’s an option for anyone who is rushing to get to a flight, specifically during the afternoon rush hour.
For now, Uber is offering limited scheduled trips, as the demands aren’t fully established yet. The helicopter rides can accommodate five passengers. Storage for each passenger is available for one carry-on bag and one personal bag.
This exclusive feature is only available for Platinum and Diamond Rewards customers.
The Uber Copter’s operations have been outsourced from HeliFlite, a charter helicopter company based in New Jersey.
Uber’s Vision: Aerial Ride-sharing
Uber continues to work on improving the comforts of its customers. App improvements include additional options that help customize users’ ride-sharing experience.
With higher population numbers in urban areas, the top concern of riders now is the high-density traffic, especially during peak hours. And Uber wants to find solutions to this problem.
In its introduction, the paper discusses how a two-hour commute from San Francisco’s Marina to downtown San Jose can be done in 15 minutes via its Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. VTOLs refer to small, electric aircraft that can take-off and land vertically.
The company envisions a network of “vertiports,” VTOL hubs with take-off and landing pads, that will be used for this type of transportation. The company also emphasizes that vacant parking lots or unused land near highway interchanges may be used as “vertistops,” a VTOL pad with minimal infrastructure.
Uber envisions that these types of aircraft will be available in the near future. The transportation giant plans to be the leading company in the aerial ride-sharing transport services.
Integrating with Public Transportations
Aside from catering to high-end customer needs, Uber also started diversifying its ride-sharing portfolio.
Last May, Uber sold train and bus tickets via their app in Denver, Colorado. According to Uber, the endeavor has been successful. They have sold 1,200 tickets for Denver’s Regional Transportation District.
Uber Transit was available to limited users in May. On June 15, the feature was accessible to all Denver users. The company shared that each week, the number of customers using the feature has an increase of 42% since then.
The feature puts the company in equal footing with its public transportation. What’s interesting is that the company does not profit from the bus and train tickets it sells. And, this has resulted in lessened criticisms on how Uber has been poaching rides from the transportation industry.
Nevertheless, despite not profiting off ticket sales, the app has gain more and more users since Uber Transit’s launch. This will eventually lead Uber to be the go-to app for anything transport related.
Uber’s efforts may be a little behind its competitor, but it’s the first to include air travel into its services.
Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, is already developing its status as the go-to multimodal transportation app in Washington, D.C., Santa Monica, California, and Los Angeles. Lyft offers transportation services ranging from bikes to cars. It also started public transport integration, too.
The ride-sharing giants are working on improving their services and keeping afloat following a poor performance in the stock market and criticisms from politicians and drivers.
Both companies had their initial public offering this year. Lyft announced their IPO last March, while Uber followed suit in May. Both of the company’s stocks did not do well on their first day in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).