Uber unveils new products to attract customers and improve profits

New services include hotel and flight reservation, charter bus bookings, electric vehicle options for customers, and electric vehicle hub and charging map for drivers

Uber said its revenue surged in the first quarter of the year, underpinned by a recovery in its ride-hailing and delivery businesses. AP
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Ride-hailing company Uber unveiled new products and services on Monday, in a bid to attract more customers and improve its bottom line.

New services include hotel and flight reservation, charter bus bookings, new electric vehicle options for customers and electric vehicle hub and charging map for drivers.

The National looks at the new services announced on Monday.

Uber travel

Uber travel service allows users to reserve rides for each leg of their itinerary. They need to connect their Gmail account while making the booking and Uber will help them to organise hotel, flight and restaurant reservations all in one place.

The users will also get 10 per cent back for each reserve ride. It is available from Monday in the US and in the coming weeks in Canada, the company said.

An Uber Eats bicyclist makes a delivery in Capitol Hill, Washington. Reuters

The California-based company is also making it easier to book a bus for group gathering through its new Uber charter service.

Through Uber charter, users can book a party bus, passenger van or a coach bus in the Uber app.

“No research, no stress, no surprises … we will show you pricing upfront. Uber charter is launching across the US this summer,” Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s chief executive, said.

Uber comfort electric

The company's new comfort electric service will provide users a ride in a premium electric vehicle like a Tesla or Polestar on demand. This option is currently available in Dubai, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego with more cities to come soon, the company said.

Last year, Uber announced a partnership with Hertz to make up to 50,000 Tesla vehicles available for drivers to rent by 2023. Bloomberg

The company aims to become a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2040. Last year, it formed a partnership with Hertz to make up to 50,000 Tesla vehicles available for drivers to rent by 2023.

EV hub and charging map

The company has built an EV hub in the Uber app “where they [drivers] can get information and incentives to join the electric revolution, and even compare the cost of ownership of an EV with a non-EV”, the company said.

To make charging easier for drivers, Uber is also adding a charging map directly to the driver app to show them where the nearest EV chargers are located, the charging speeds and navigation to get there.

Voice ordering

Uber has integrated Google Assistant into Uber Eats to let users place orders through their voice.

“Just say OK Google, and ask your phone to order a meal from a restaurant on Uber Eats. Voice ordering will start rolling out globally in English this summer with more languages to come,” Mr Khosrowshahi said.

Autonomous delivery

Uber is launching two autonomous delivery programmes in Los Angeles with Serve Robotics, a robotic sidewalk delivery start-up, and Motional, an autonomous vehicle technology company.

“These pilots mark our continued work to bring safe, reliable and affordable autonomous technology to merchants and consumers everywhere,” Mr Khosrowshahi said.

Uber shares react on company's move

Uber's shares were trading almost 2.5 per cent down at $23.8 a share at 9pm UAE time on Monday. The company’s stocks are down almost 46 per cent since the start of the year.

Earlier this month, Uber said its revenue surged in the first quarter of the year, underpinned by a recovery in its ride-hailing and delivery businesses in the January to March period.

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber. Bloomberg

Its revenue in the three months to the end of March soared 136 per cent on an annualised basis to more than $6.9 billion, surpassing analysts’ estimate of $6.1bn. The company reported adjusted earnings of $168 million during the quarter, compared with a loss of $359m in the prior year period.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 5:12 AM
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