Uber to pilot its Uber Air service in Melbourne
Uber, the multinational transportation network company, has pegged Melbourne as the third pilot city for its Uber Air service.
With Dallas and Los Angeles the others, Melbourne is the first location to be announced outside of the US. Uber said its technology would open up air mobility, consequently alleviating the congestion many cities face, which Uber estimates costs Australia $16.5bn annually, increasing to $30bn by 2030.
Eric Allison, the global head of Uber Elevate, said: “As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable. Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes. Uber’s technology is changing the way people move around their cities — from bikes to pooled rides, we are always looking for ways to reduce the need for private car ownership. In the coming years, with Uber Air, we want to make it possible for people to push a button and get a flight.”
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In the future the company envisions a fleet of electric vehicles that can transport thousands of people for the same price as its current basic service. Test flights are due to start in 2020, with plans for commercial operations to commence from 2023.
Susan Anderson, Regional General Manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia, said: “Since we entered the market in 2012, Australians have embraced Uber wholeheartedly. Today, over 3.8 million Aussies regularly use Uber as a reliable way to get from A to B, and governments across the country have recognised the important role ridesharing plays in the future of transport for our cities. Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology. This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after. The State Government of Victoria, Australia has been highly supportive, and we look forward to partnering with them to progress into this first international trial for Uber Air in Melbourne.”