Uber announces its new, worse version of a bus

Uber announces its new, worse version of a bus

Google I/O isn’t the only tech-adjacent event this week. Uber just held its annual GO-GET event and announced a whole bunch of new features coming to the rideshare platform/taxi app/whatever you wanna call it. Much of this news concerns shuttles and expanded ride sharing options, as Uber states in its promotional materials that “we cultivate the magic of human interaction.” Ah, yes. The magic of avoiding eye contact with a stranger sitting next to you in an Uber Pool. It truly is special.

Anyways, the big news here is something called Uber Shuttle. This lets users reserve up to five seats up to seven days in advance for transportation to and from major events like concerts and basketball games, though it’s also available for trips to the airport. The company brags that this feature is particularly budget-friendly, noting that each rider will pay “a fraction of the price of an UberX.” The company promises that these rides will not be impacted by surge pricing. We’ll see about that. It’s also worth noting that these shuttles are only for events listed in the app, which is kind of a bummer. 

Uber has partnered with Live Nation to bring these shuttles to certain venues throughout the summer, including Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium and Charlotte’s PNC Pavilion. These Uber Shuttles won’t be your typical Nissan Sentra or Toyota Camry. They are actual shuttles that hold anywhere from 14 to 55 occupants. The company says each driver will be commercially licensed to operate a large transport vehicle.

Rideshare companies have been trying to crack the “bus, but worse” code for a while now. Uber tried something similar in 2015, called Uber Hop, which failed spectacularly. Lyft followed suit in 2017, also failing spectacularly. Third time’s the charm? 

GO-GET wasn’t just about the standard bus hiding under a fresh coat of Silicon Valley paint. UberX Share is getting a new feature that lets users schedule shared rides in advance to save a bit of money. The company notes that an average rider should save around 25 percent per ride using this tool when compared to a regular trip with UberX.

It says this is “perfect for commutes” and that it’s “intentionally launching this new offering in cities that have experienced some of the highest rates of employees returning to office.” This includes New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Atlanta, with more locations to be added in the near future.

The company also announced Uber Caregiver, which lets people book rides for loved ones to doctors appointments and the like. This feature rolls out sometime during the summer and will be available for customers aged 65 and over.

The app being used to order Costco.

Food delivery platform Uber Eats is getting a couple of updates. The company has added Costco to its lineup of retail delivery offerings. Costco members will not only get stuff delivered, but should get an additional discount on top of membership privileges. Finally, Uber Eats Lists is a new way for people to decide on what to nosh on. This allows users to peruse restaurant recommendations from friends and local foodies. Uber says this “makes it easy to explore a new city or switch up your go-tos.” The service launches in July in NYC and Chicago, with more cities to come.

Regular Uber users should look out for these features throughout the summer, though not if they live in Minneapolis. Uber’s pulling up stakes after the city council voted to increase driver pay. It would rather leave a bustling metropolis than abide by a slight pay increase. After all, the idea of fair pay could spread and infect the innocent minds of Uber drivers everywhere. Long live the totally healthy and normal gig economy.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uber-announces-its-new-worse-version-of-a-bus-160727976.html?src=rss

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of Technoshia.com - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.