Right now, Uber is the app you open to request a car to pick you up. But it wants to be the app where you can find a bicycle or borrow someone else's car — and, soon, where to rent e-scooters.
On Thursday, Uber made it easier to request these non-ride-hail options with "mode switch." Instead of hiding the options within a menu, the top of the app will now list the different Uber options: cars, bikes, scooters, and rental cars.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt main stage in San Francisco on Thursday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recommitted to alternative transit options like bikes and scooters.
About one year since he took over the company, he talked about how Uber is trying to be the "Amazon of transportation." The company acquired bike-share company Jump earlier this year and is expanding "pretty aggressively." Scooters are forthcoming, Khosrowshahi promised, and Uber is already partnering with Lime to offer the scooters through the app.
He said on stage, "Hopefully no one in the future will own a car," and admitted that he's willing to take a monetary hit to get more Uber users on bikes and scooters.
Eventually he sees the ride-hailing portion of the Uber business shrinking to only 50 percent.
"We’re going to worry about the monetization later," he said. He didn't mention what this new focus means for drivers that rely on ride requests as income. Previously the CEO had said drivers shouldn't be concerned since they will still be needed for longer (more expensive) rides.
The mode switcher comes the same day Uber rival Lyft rolled out its own scooters in Denver. This is the first ride-hailing app in the U.S. to get into the scooter world.
Lyft will charge $1 to unlock the scooters and 15 cents per minute to ride the electric scooters — very similar to other scooter companies like Bird and Lime.
After Denver, Lyft said it hopes to be in at least more 10 cities by the end of this year. Both Uber and Lyft won a permit last week to roll out scooters in Santa Monica, California, but were denied permits to operate in San Francisco.