By now it’s almost impossible not to be aware of Uber, the mobile phone app which has successfully taken the road transportation market by storm and provoking considerable anxiety among traditional taxi operators. Indeed, it was only last week that Sao Paulo – Brazil saw the introduction of the Uber taxi service via helicopter, aptly named UberCopter.
Uber was first founded in 2009 as UberCab by entrepreneurs Travis Kalanick and Garett Camp in San Francisco. The main attraction of the app is that consumers can pay for transportation via a designated PayPal account as well as being provided with real-time tracking of the taxi with an expected arrival time, so no more nervous waits in the rain or rummaging around in your wallet!
According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, 500 Black cabs have disappeared from London’s 25,000 strong fleet since the introduction of Uber in the UK, and there are no signs of the Uber machine slowing down as it begins to introduce a diverse range of services in to the market place.
UberEats, the on-demand meal delivery service which was piloted in a few select US cities in the third quarter of 2015 received a relatively positive response despite partnerships with such companies as Starbucks failing to take off. UberRush has now entered the market which was officially launched last October and started as a bike courier service in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, offering a competitive one hour delivery service.
Most people would suggest Uber is tackling a very crowded market in regards to delivery, where the likes of Amazon, Google, and other delivery start-ups are all clamouring to deliver for big name retailers. However, parcels broker ParcelHero has published a report predicting UberRush will soon have a global market share of 10% within the parcel couriers industry.
For this reason, parcel couriers DHL, FedEx, Royal Mail and other courier and delivery companies are now bracing themselves for an expansion of the Uber group’s North American UberRush service into Europe. Demand in the sector has seen a considerable uptake in recent years due to the rise of internet shopping. In 2015 76% of UK adults bought goods or services online, an increase from 53% in 2008 according to the Office for National Statistics.
Whilst UberRush is still in the early ‘trial’ phase, if its continued success shows no signs of stalling we could soon see such as service in the UK, as Calvin Lee, product manager at Uber has said “We’re going to be fast, we’re going to be affordable, we’re going to be simple and easy to use”, a promise which Uber has so far lived up to.