When a company like Uber files for an IPO, it eventually wants to show a sunny face to investors—especially with a claimed valuation of $120 billion, which would make it bigger than the combined values of Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler.
A tall order for a company that burned through $10.7 billion in its first nine years. And the losses have only continued, according to Bloomberg. Uber lost nearly $1.1 billion in the quarter ending September 20, 2018. That was better than the same period in 2017, but up 20% from the previous quarter.
So why would the company want people to take mass transit, as the Wall Street Journal reported? Because it sees another potential revenue stream.
The company has realized that its services can be perceived as valuable in different contexts. For example, it already acts as a taxi service for millions and has become a restaurant delivery service in many markets.
Urging people to take mass transit makes sense, when you consider that for most, the alternative would be to drive their own cars. Uber makes no money in that process. But many who might take mass transit still have to get to the bus or the train.
And so, Uber began to partner with mass-transit officials in 2018, according to the Journal’s report. The company could also let people take electric bikes or scooters, eventually offering discounted transit tickets. The effort is already underway in parts of Egypt, Australia, and India.
But it has to move fast because it’s not first with the idea. Seattle already has a similar system using Lyft, Uber, and ReachNow. Startup Via also provides ferry services in some U.S. cities.