Your Uber’s here and it’s… a shuttle bus?

Uber is launching a new shuttle service to get people cheaper rides to airports and big events.

Every year, the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire takes place in Irwindale, California. It can be a traffic nightmare — like in 2022, when a pair of adorable burrowing owls limited parking.

A white bus against a blue background.

And every year, I wonder why the fest and Los Angeles Metro don’t partner on a shuttle between the nearby train station and the fairgrounds, potentially alleviating some headache, protecting owls, and resulting in delightful busloads of people dressed like a D&D party.

Enter Uber?

Uber announced a new feature, Uber Shuttle, that will let customers prebook shared buses to airports, concerts, and sporting events for “a fraction” of the typical Uber fare.

It will initially launch in select cities and for only select events — unfortunately, no Ren Faire yet.

Why it matters

In 2015, Uber piloted UberHOP in Seattle, a service that allowed several passengers to join a predetermined route.

At the time, UberHOP was mocked for basically being a bus. That may be true in some cities and to some venues, but sometimes there simply is no existing bus to suit specific, high-volume needs.

  • Take Los Angeles, where people are apparently scared of public transit. Last summer, when Taylor Swift played in the Los Angeles area, Metro added special service to SoFi Stadium. Smart? Yes. Consistently available for non-Swifties? No.

Sure, we’d love to see more robust public transit options…

… but until then, Shuttle may be a smart move for Uber. There are many increasingly budget-conscious customers who a) still need to get around, and b) may not know how to use or not have access to reliable public transit.

Uber has already found success with shuttle services in India and Egypt, where customers are taking 2x more Shuttle trips than UberX rides. Meanwhile, its carpool option, UberX Share, earns $1B+ in annual bookings.

BTW: More public transit agencies are taking cues from rideshare platforms, offering on-demand microtransit options.

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