In the first public event at Uber’s Greenlight Hub in Ward 7, the new CEO of the ride-hailing service had a bold proposition: Uber can’t be just about ride-hailing anymore.
And to get there, the company will need D.C.’s help.
At an event Wednesday, Uber unveiled a series of new partnerships and announcements with this goal in mind — many focused nationally. For instance, Uber customers will be able to use the app to not only hail a ride, but also to rent cars through a partnership with Getaround; access public transportation option with Masabi; and book e-bike rental operations following its acquisition of JUMP bikes on Monday. And Uber is expanding some of its city planning data tools to more cities around the world.
But, looking under the hood of these partnerships, D.C. is integral to Uber’s plans to focus beyond ride-hailing, as seen in other announcements, including a new D.C. pilot launch and plans to doubledown on JUMP’s presence around the District. Let alone the fact that the company decided to unveil all of these new plans in Washington, instead of its hometown of San Francisco.
“Uber has grown up with the cities of the world, and we have helped revolutionize urban transportation and urban mobility,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at an event in D.C. Wednesday. “We want to be a part of that solution with cities.”
Take the acquisition of JUMP bikes by Uber in a reportedly $200 million deal. Khosrowshahi said the company plans to double JUMP’s existing presence to 400 bicycles in the District in the next few weeks. And seeing as that’s the maximum number of bikes any dockless operator can have in the city until the D.C. Department of Transportation’s pilot ends later this month, it’s fair to assume that number could go up — depending on the results of the pilot program. Right now, JUMP only operates in San Francisco and Washington.