Ride sharing giant, Uber is planning a shift in emphasis from cars to electric bicycles and scooters for shorter journeys as part of its long-term strategy, according to the ride-hailing app’s chief executive,Dara Khosrowshahi.
He admitted the move would result in more short-term financial losses for the company, which lost $4.5bn (£3.5bn) last year and is planning to go public in 2019
Mr Khosrowshahi told the Financial Times: “During rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-ton hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks.
“Short term financially, maybe it’s not a win for us, but strategically long term we think that is exactly where we want to head.”
Mr Khosrowshahi said Uber makes less money from a bike ride than the same journey in a car, but that he expected this to be offset by customers using the app for more journeys more frequently.
He said, “I’ve found in my career that engagement over the long term wins wars and sometimes it’s worth it to lose battles in order to win wars.”
Uber first added bicycles to its app in February, and acquired the bike-sharing company Jump for about $200m (£155m) in April.
Jump bikes are currently available in eight US cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington DC, and are preparing to launch in Berlin.
An Uber spokesman told Sky News that other European cities would follow shortly but he was unable to say when this would include the UK.
Mr Khosrowshahi, who became Uber’s chief executive last year, has also struck deals with electric scooter company Lime and Masabi, a London-based app that provides mobile ticketing for public transport.
It is however not sure when the new initiative will take off in the commercial nerve center of Nigeria, especially with the high cost of purchase and maintenance of electric bikes compared to the conventional ones.