Transport et mobilité urbaine


Clémence Fandoux | March 23rd, 2021

As part of the comparative study that Poly-Monde mission is leading between Canada, Singapore and Taiwan on transportation and urban mobility, the team met with the giant of transportation servicer: Uber. The American technology company develops and operates mobile applications that connect users with drivers who provide transportation services. Founded in 2009 under the name UberCab, the company now offers its users much more than just rides. They are working to bring the future closer with self-driving technology and urban air transport, helping people order food quickly and affordably, removing barriers to healthcare, creating new freight-booking solutions, and helping companies provide a seamless employee travel experience (Uber, 2021).

To better understand how Uber manages its operations, we met several experts who work for the company.

Launching a major city, with Michael Van Hemmen - Head of Cities in Vancouver

The first questions one asks and answers one needs to find for knowing how to launch a ridesharing application in a city are :

  • What is needed to launch ridesharing successfully? An application, an authority to operate, insurance, drivers and riders demands;
  • Because it's a competitive launch: what should we focus on? Drivers;
  • What is conversion? And why does it matter? Because we need to focus on people getting from awareness consideration and signing up, and once the signup, we have access to their email address and phone number so we can help them through the process of the flannel.

To answer these questions more precisely, you must first segment and know your market perfectly. Indeed, mastering your market contributes to the success of integrating the product in a larger area: the more saturated geographic coverage you have, the more you have faster pickups, fewer drivers in town and lower prices, which contribute to the increase in demand. And as the demand grows, the number of drivers also increases, expanding geographic coverage saturation.

Safety at Uber during COVID-19, with Joanne Wong - Head of Safety

Safety of ridesharing is having policies for accidents, violence and theft and regulation for personal protection about COVID and having a hotline to assist at any time. 

In this time of COVID, Uber had to find a policy for mask-wearing:

  • Drivers and riders have to agree to the community guideline; 
  • Real-time selfie;
  • Having a good and rigorous review of all reports;
  • A strict policy: mask-wearing is now a mandatory norm.

For the future, Uber is wondering what they have to do if people get vaccinated, and they think they no longer need a mask. They need to prepare to know the impacts on their business and what the privacy and security issues will be.

Uber Eats: Scaling during a pandemic, with Joey Pateman - Sr Operations Manager

The pandemic has accelerated the food delivery market. In fact, Uber Eats, like others same-day or next-hours delivery companies, saw a massive growth

as a result of the pandemic. It will not be surprising to read in their annual report that their incomes have doubled in the near future.

But this market has a more complex business model than ridesharing because of the regulation and the sizeable B2B component: the consumer, the delivery person and the restaurant. So it’s not like people only need to sign up on an app; they have to sign contracts with businesses.

COVID-19 had brought to Uber Eats all the restaurants and chains that refused in the past to join the platform. The pandemic forced Uber to take all the necessary actions to increase its number of delivery drivers and ensure their safety by distributing masks hydro-alcoholic and gel and being remotely connected with them. 

Sustainability at Uber,  with Brendan Acs - Sr Operations Manager

In the middle of the pandemic, UberGreen has been launched in 14 cities and recently in Montreal and Quebec on Thursday 22nd of April on the Earth Day.

Uber Green is a low-emission ride option that connects you with hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

To lead the way toward a greener future, Uber is focusing on four areas:

  • Offering more ways to drive green; 
  • Helping drivers go electric;
  • Partnering to fight climate change;
  • Making transparency a priority.

Uber is committing more than $800 million to help drivers transition to battery electric vehicles by 2025. The platform is also investing in a multimodal network, partnering with local agencies like Transit, integrating Lime bikes and scooters into the Uber app and expanding nonstop shared rides—a last-in, first-out carpooling option, when and where it is safe to do so.

Moreover, in 2040 Uber wants to offer millions of rides a day with zero-emission because “as the largest mobility platform in the world, we know that our impact goes beyond our technology. We want to do our part to build back better and support a green recovery in our cities and communities.” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO.

Uber in Québec, with Anton Sakiz - Sr Operations Manager and Jonathan Hamel - Public Affairs Manager

Quebec’s urban mobility market differs significantly from its other Canadian counterparts due to legislation, public opinion, and electric car integration. Even though Uber has been operating under pilot projects since October 2016, and permanently regulated since October 2020, many Quebecers remain unsure whether the service is regulated.

To prove its trustworthiness, Uber is increasing its presence by partnering with Aéroports de Montréal and event organizers, such as the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, to meet operational challenges and manage the traffic of people.

Moreover, Quebec’s ridesharing market has different competitive dynamics than other provinces. Unlike Ontario and B.C., Lyft has not launched in Quebec, but there are significant local players such as Téo Taxi and Eva.