”We want to make the mobility mix so attractive that more people will no longer want to own a car.”
As a mobility platform, UBER can play a decisive role in shaping the green future of mobility. As part of our cross-industry interview series, we spoke with Christoph Weigler, General Manager DACH, about the challenges and took an exciting look into the future of UBER.
How do you define mobility? What does mobility mean to you or your company?
Mobility is one of the key drivers of progress and development. Our being mobile is what makes it possible for us to meet, exchange ideas and move things around in the first place. The need to be mobile has spawned many new concepts in recent years, and so mobility itself has also changed. Here at Uber we see our mission as this: to enable affordable mobility. We want to create complementary offerings that allow everyone flexible mobility – and without having to be dependent on their own car. Only a good mobility mix of public transport and other sharing services will offer an attractive alternative to the private car.
What do you see as the biggest challenge of the mobility revolution? How can it be managed?
The biggest challenge facing the mobility industry is sustainability that is affordable. At Uber, we’re convinced that owning a car is neither the most convenient nor the most efficient option for getting around in cities – not to mention the environmental aspect. If you take the train to work in the morning and can be sure that you will still get home reliably, cheaply and directly, even if it’s late in the evening, then you won’t need a car that has to be parked and picked up again at the starting point. We want to make the mobility mix so appealing that more and more people will say goodbye to a car of their own. By electrifying our partner fleets, we can also quickly increase the proportion of cars on the road that use sustainable powertrains.
What are the biggest mobility challenges facing your industry?
For efficient and sustainable transport, it is important that as much mileage as possible is put to good use – that is to say, for the purpose of transporting people or goods. One of the biggest challenges we face as a chauffeured car service provider is the need to get chauffeured cars for hire back to where they started from. Our partners’ drivers having to return to their place of business after a trip makes for an enormous number of empty runs, which is complete nonsense both environmentally and economically. Particularly in rural areas, the distances are too great to be able to build up an economical service under these conditions – let alone introduce an electric service.
Which mobility ‘best cases’ particularly impress you right now and why?
I see a strong development in the area of seamless mobility chains. There are more and more examples of routes made up of different transportation options – e.g., bus, rail, cab, and services like Uber – not having to be planned across three different platforms. This can also work in an app. In Zurich, for example, we show Uber users public transport connections directly in the Uber app. In Denver, you can even book tickets for the train in the app with “Uber Transit”. And in London, too, we are planning a closer interlinking of various offers. In this way, the appeal of the mobility mix can become more obvious and win over even more users.
Where do you see your industry/company in terms of mobility five years from now?
In five years, we would like our services to be an integral part of the everyday mobility of as many people as possible. With seamless mobility chains and sustainable offerings such as “Uber Green” and “Uber Transit”, we want to drive the mobility revolution forward and to offer custom services for many different mobility needs. With offerings such as “Uber Assist”, we want to be at the forefront of inclusive mobility and create access to individual and affordable mobility for all.
HEY/HAMBURG and Hamburg as a city unite mobility on land (road and rail), on water and in the air like no other. What are your expectations for the event and the talks?
We are looking forward to the HEY Conference in Hamburg. The central topic of the event “Sustainable Mobility” is not only our constant companion in our day-to-day business, but also a matter of the heart for us. The same is true for the second focal point, “Mobility meets Tech”. As a mobility platform, we hope firstly to be able to take away from the conference new stimuli for our own further development and for the green future of mobility. Secondly, we want to show ways in which Uber can contribute to the sustainable mobility transition.
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