Editor's take: It’s difficult to say whether this is the right move or not for Uber. Some will no doubt view it as a last-ditch effort to stay afloat during a very challenging time. Others could take it as the company leveraging what made it unique in the first place, like a restaurant selling its secret sauce to the competition. But if Uber’s goal is truly to “make car ownership a thing of the past,” this certain falls in line with that strategy.
Uber Technologies is making the software behind its ride-hailing platform available to public transit agencies for the first time in an effort to generate new streams of revenue.
As Bloomberg highlights, the ride-hailing company is starting small, partnering with public bus agency Marin Transit in Marin County, California. When the service, called Marin Connect, goes live on July 1, Uber’s software will serve as the backend for just four vehicles. The two-year, $80,000 deal, will also integrate public transit schedules within the Uber app for locals.
Uber has been hit especially hard by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic although really, its stock had been trending south for much of the second half of 2019 after an initial pop following its IPO earlier in the year.
Just last week, the company lost out on an opportunity to bolster its food delivery business when rival Just Eat Takeaway purchased Grubhub for $7.3 billion. Uber had reportedly been in acquisition talks with Grubhub for months prior. In May, the company laid off thousands of employees and closed dozens of offices around the globe.
David Reich, head of Uber Transit, insists that the software offering isn’t a one-off deal but rather, “a new product and a new business.”