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Ride-Hailing Apps Are Transforming into Mobility Platforms

Both Lyft and Uber have ambitions to become a one-stop mobility shop that integrates buses, trains, subways, cars and micromobility, as well as other services such as deliveries [1].

The introduction of additional mobility modes is happening at a time when the ride-hailing services are being accused of nudging travellers out of taxis and rental cars, drawing pedestrians and cyclists into its backseats, and tempting commuters off buses and trains. But according to Lyft’s CEO and co-founder John Zimmer, there’s only one mobility mode that they truly wish to defeat: the private automobile. Soon, e-scooters, shared bikes, car rentals, and public transit options will appear next to vehicle rides on the Lyft platform, including time and cost comparisons. “For so long, the car itself had all the real estate in the app, but now we’re putting these other forms front and centre”, Zimmer says. “We think this will help open minds to the idea of ‘transportation as a service,’ which sets the stage for a major decline in car ownership.”

While Uber already has rolled out in-app ticketing for public transit in Denver, Lyft has not yet reached that level of integration. Still, it is evident that they are both taking steps to become universal mobility apps that travellers can use to source, compare, and purchase trips across multiple modes.

 

Personal comments

Adding additional mobility modes would be part of a more long-term strategy to increase the relevance and scope of the applications. Ultimately, we should welcome solutions that make it possible to more easily compare and choose between competing services. At the same time, it is important to remember that these actors (as well as other platform owners) want to make sure we routinely open their apps and consequently pay with our attention and data.

Time will tell if the expressed ambition to lower the use and ownership of cars will come true. Up until now, the strategy has rather been to attract as many ride-hailing riders as possible, and in a study by the University of Kentucky, researchers found that for every year after ride-hailing companies entered an urban market, rail ridership fell by 1.3 percent, and bus ridership fell by 1.7 percent [2].

 

Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-09-24. Lyft’s New App Features Real-Time Public Transit Info

2. 2019-09-26. Inside Uber’s Plan to Take Over City Life with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi