Writer: Yolanda Rivas
2 min read JULY 2019 — Ride sharing is here to stay. Although the concept is not new, it has gained significant popularity over the last few years. According to Statista, a survey indicated that 36% of 11,000 participants in the U.S. used ride sharing services in 2018, an increase from 15% in 2015. Our ‘Spotlight on’ for this week, Uber’s general manager for Pennsylvania Chad Dobbs, shared with Invest: Philadelphia the latest highlights and growth areas for the company in the region.
What were some highlights that Uber saw in the region during the past 12-18 months?
We rolled out Express POOL, which is a new version of Uber POOL. This new shared ride option allows passengers to get more affordable rides by taking a short walk to a spot along the route to meet their Uber, and joining other users with similar routes — which makes ridesharing more efficient. We also made significant progress on our wheelchair accessibility, through a partnership with MV Transportation, to get more wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road and massively improve the reliability of that service. Finally, we launched Uber Rewards in late 2018, which is a loyalty program for riders. Whether you’re using Uber as a rider or to get food you can accumulate points and unlock special features on the Uber app.
What are the main growth drivers for Uber in Philadelphia?
In Philadelphia and other similar-size cities, our fastest growth areas are typically outside of the core. We’re excited to bring portable options to places that are not traditionally served by public transportation, and need a quick, reliable and cheap alternative. Outside of our ride program, we’re expanding the Uber concept as a platform and joining other transportation modes. For example, we recently launched a transit planning pilot program in Denver with the local transit system. The biggest opportunity for growth is around this concept that Uber is a platform and a way to get from point A to point B, but not necessarily in the back of a car. That part of the business has grown substantially over 2018 and is continuing to grow.
What are you doing to grow and improve the driver side and experience in the city?
We’re sitting in our Greenlight Hub facility, which is a physical location where drivers can come to receive in-person support with the on-boarding process. It’s very important for us to make sure the drivers have the support they need. We have also launched a number of different tools over the last 18 months to improve the drivers’ experience. For example, we had our 180 Days of Change campaign to make substantial improvements to our product based on the feedback of our local and national drivers.
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