If you’ve recently heard about Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick taking leave, you might be wondering what the future of this innovative ridehailing company has in store. We reviewed a recent article from CityLab, and we’ve summarized our findings here. The consensus? Unless city regulations change, the Uber will remain on top.
Uber ridehailing: CEO Takes Leave of Absence
With the results of a wide-ranging investigation into sexual harassment, discrimination, and alleged criminal activity among Uber employees, founder and CEO Travis Kalanick will take a long-term leave of absence from the ridehailing company.
how Uber dominated in Austin, Texas
“In just one week — Fare, the #3 player in the market, closed up shop in Austin. Fasten dropped their rates within 3 days and quickly expanded their discount program to attempt to keep the most price sensitive riders. And at RideAustin — we saw our volumes drop by 55% in 1 week[.] The market power of the giants is undoubtedly significant as they’ve gained at least 20K rides from us alone,” says Andy Tryba, the co-founder CEO of Ride Austin.
Why Regulations Matter more than popularity
Regulations will matter far more than consumer ratings or public opinion in deciding the fate of ridehailing services like Uber, who rely on regulatory conditions to remain favorable in order for them to operate and flourish.
Regulations determine the viability of ridehailing services, which can make or break the success of such programs. For example:
- Most cities have jurisdiction over most street space and they’re beginning to understand what tools are available to shape access to that precious commodity; as congestion worsens and new technologies flood in
- Certain rights of way may be reserved for high-occupancy vehicles only, as New York City has done to smooth peak commutes on its bridges.
- Curbside controls may limit where Ubers or Lyfts can pull up to hot destinations, as dozens of airports have set up to keep bumper-to-bumper madness at bay.
- Cities could move to require ridehailing vehicles to meet certain tailpipe standards, as Portland does.
- Officials can crack down on data-sharing mandates, as San Francisco is to better understand ridehailing traffic impacts.
- Or, as London, Stockholm, and Singapore have done to great success, cities could price their roads to manage congestion and encourage carpooling and transit.