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Since Uber began getting regularly hammered in the press for its aggressive political tactics and potential legal violations, its once outspoken leader hasn’t given the public much direction about the future of his multibillionaire ride-sharing company.
But CEO Travis Kalanick gave a rare interview in San Francisco today at the mega Dreamforce conference. Among the morsels he doled out, two quotes stood out, largely because they reveal how Uber might see itself changing public life.
Street congestion may be one of the most annoying aspects of city life, but Kalanick thinks his company has the remedy for it:
If every car in San Francisco was Ubered, there’d be no traffic.
In the short term, Kalanick says he basically wants to replace every car on the road. Where Uber and Lyft have saturated the market with on-demand drivers, this is actually a realistic goal in the near term. A number of commentators have done the calculations, and it’s cheaper to replace one’s car in San Francisco with ride-sharing. As a Bay Area resident, the availability of cheap transportation is why I sold my car.
It’s really nice never to worry about parking tickets, drunk driving, gas or maintenance. Not owning a car saves me a ton of time every month. This will be more difficult to achieve in midwestern states and suburban environments, but perhaps Uber can figure out a solution for less urbanized citizens.
Put another way, Uber is looking to fully privatize the transportation industry.
Broadly speaking, Uber seems intent on overhauling the transportation industry.
We want transportation to be as reliable as running water for everyone, in every city in the world.
Instead of a complicated and unreliable system of transit unions, car ownership and delivery services, Uber would try to make getting something from point A to point B much more seamless.
People spend (a lot) of time buying different services and figuring out how to navigate delivery and transportation. Uber imagines a world where all the complicated logistics are taken care of. All that a user would have to do is press a button. Seems like it would be a less frustrating world, if he—or others—can build it.
Kalanick’s full interview should be available later on the Dreamforce website.
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