Despite pressures from almost all of the cities it has a presence in, Uber is contending to keep cars on the road as it expands its services.
The service that connects riders with drivers through mobile applications wants cities even more accessible, but it needs more drivers, which means more investment in cars. To keep up with the demand of riders, Uber is offering discounted financing or leasing for vehicles that are made by Toyota and General Motors (News - Alert).
Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said the number of rides requested by its users keeps increasing more than 20 percent month over month. To entice more drivers on the road by lowering down costs for car ownership, Uber wants to qualify drivers that will be approved for better rates. A fully utilized vehicle on Uber grosses more than USD 100,000 a year, so the solution is a win-win.
Kalanick said, "We need to get hundreds of thousands of cars on the road."
In a Monday-morning conference call, Kalanick formally announced GM and Toyota as its partners on a “vehicle financing platform” debuting in six cities: San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Dallas. The new financing program will save its “partners” about $100 a month in car payments. It will also apply to city-licensed limo drivers dispatched via UberBLACK and UberX.
Right now, the city of Dallas, Texas is putting Uber on the table for debate. Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee Meeting chair Vonciel Jones Hill says the committee will “address the issue of vehicles-for-hire service and regulations” beginning January 13 during an extended meeting. In August, there was a proposed city ordinance intended to curb Uber and other car-for-hire services dispatched by smartphone.
“Any time we do well in a particular city, the taxi industry lobbies the city councils and other regulatory agencies to take some kind of action to stem our growth or outlaw competition,” he said. “If we used that activity as a reason for us not to innovate, there wouldn’t be a lot of places left. The way we look at this is, Dallas is one of our fastest-growing markets. They’ve really taken to Uber and UberX, and we want to make sure we’re putting the pieces in place to offer reliable, high-quality rides for people.”
Uber says it's not a transportation company but rather a tech firm whose smartphone app matches people with ride providers.