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Uber is starting to show TfL it can play nice.
Approximately a year and a half down the line from Uber having its license revoked by TfL, the two entities are apparently getting along swimmingly. Starting today, you can see real-time updates on when the next tube or bus will arrive, via Uber's app.
It's an intriguing move, as it could eat into Uber's own profits. The app shows competing routes and prices for a journey. One that might cost £10 via Uber might only cost £1.50 on the tube. And it's not just tube and bus journeys that will show up on the app. Trains, trams, shuttle, river boat, DLR and Overground all feature. No sign of the cable car however; a travesty in our humble opinion.
Uber claims that the company's mission to reduce private car ownership and clean up London's air is behind the move. But might there might be ulterior motives at play too? This has more than a whiff of Uber attempting to show TfL how much it has reformed.
We also have a more cynical theory. This update to the app makes Uber's act noticeably similar to Citymapper, and with the latter company trying desperately to monetise, the two apps are now competitors. Could Uber be shaping up to take Citymapper on?
David Reich, Head of Transit at Uber said:
With 3.5 million Londoners relying on Uber, we recognise the important responsibilities that come with being a good partner to this great global city.
We share many of the same goals as the cities that we serve and are committed to addressing the same challenges: reducing individual car ownership, expanding transportation access and tackling air pollution.