Uber is looking to ramp up its business model by doubling its number of supported vehicle types. That’s right, with this new addition to their lineup, they’ll go from simplifying car rides to simplifying car and scooter rides. Now that’s a serious upgrade.
But aside from feeling the wind in your hair and staying closer to the ground, why would you want to catch a ride on a scooter when you could just take a car? There are a few reasons, and one of the larger ones is pricing: These two-wheelers are far, far cheaper than their four-wheeled alternative.
Unlike cars, scooters aren’t made to support more than one person, so Uber won’t be looking for scooter drivers to help ferry people around. instead, scooters will be available for rental: $1 for the first five minutes and then 15 cents per minute after that. You can pick up a scooter at any one of a number of pre-designated scooter stations that Uber will be set up ahead of time, and then drop them off at another station.
You can even secure your ride by paying an additional $1 to reserve a scooter at a station.
Uber is demoing this new service in Santa Monica and will be offering free rides through Sunday in order to raise awareness and get people used to how the system works. After that, if successful, the scooters will be expanding to other cities around the globe.
But there’s a catch. While the popularity of electric scooters has gone through the roof during this past year, the overabundance of these vehicles has prompted many cities to suspend, require permits for, or even outright ban the two-wheeled transports. The banning has been set in place for a number of reasons, such as the high potential for a number of scooter-drivers to clog pedestrian pathways or the moderate potential for a scooter operator to, say, fall off their scooter.
Uber’s system may prove successful due to its intuitive nature and low price point, but the company has not fully accounted for the responses of certain cities and towns once they see their streets begin to fill with scooters. If governments and boards begin to crack down on the service, the Uber Scooter may only ever see a highly limited release.
Uber officials and campaign officers have mentioned a “fun” ride as one of the driving forces behind the launch and advancement of the Uber scooter program. And while this might sound friendly to consumers bored of their commute, hundreds of thousands of commuters having vehicular “fun” on their way to work isn’t something that many boards are going to appreciate. As Uber looks to expand this service across the states, the world’s reception to a more scooter-filled cityscape will determine whether this initiative scoots along to success or putters out early.