Uber, worth over $50B gets two new programs
Since its inception in 2009, Uber has been in the news. First, it raised huge amounts of funding in its early years, and then it has become host to a list of lawsuits and controversies around its drivers, whether or not it is a taxi service, and its surge pricing. There has been a lot of discussion whether Uber’s drivers are contractors or employees.
With each controversy, Uber has received tons of publicity that hasn’t seemed to affect its bottom line. In a report from the Wall Street Journal, it’s estimated that Uber is worth more than $50 billion.
Two of Uber’s newest programs have hit the news in recent weeks. First is the leasing program. Uber is leasing cars to its drivers. This appeals to those who want to drive, but don’t have the credit for a traditional lease. There’s all sorts of controversy over this program, not the least of which is subprime loans. The second program that Uber recently announced was its “Smart Routes” options, which is a car pool/bus type of ride-sharing.
Is Uber getting away from its original mission?
Like any company, Uber is just trying to find the best ways to increase their bottom line, but it does look like they are becoming more like a cab company. Ironically, Uber began in response to the difficulty of hailing a cab in certain locations. Hailed as being innovative in its time, many businesses have copied its business model.
With the company’s leasing program, is it getting away from its original mission? I think every business, large and small, while trying to find new revenue paths, faces this problem. Uber has a bigger issue – that of not becoming what it set out to replace. Although picking up customers on a smart route does save gas and reduces fares for their customers, Uber’s mission was to provide service to customers not along the regular cab routes. Of course, with their size and funding, they can be whoever they want to be.
Expectations are high
Uber may be driving the personal transportation market. Expectations are high. It remains to be seen if it will go the route of MySpace and become irrelevant to other businesses that don’t have the controversy or if it will be similar to Amazon, dominating the field.
I’ve used Uber and Lyft when I’ve been in Dallas, and I prefer them to a cab. The online app is so much easier for pickup and payment. The cars are always clean, and I’ve only had one driver who was less than professional. Uber has brought personal transportation into the 21st century. I only hope they can sustain their business model.