Uber Green, the feature that allows customers to request rides in electric vehicles, is coming to more cities. After initially launching in 15 cities last September, the ride-hail company is bringing the feature to 1,400 additional cities and towns in North America. The new markets include Austin, Calgary, Houston, Miami, New York City, Tucson, Winnipeg, Washington, DC, and hundreds more.
Uber claims that “100 percent” of rides on its platform will take place in electric vehicles by 2030 in the US, Canada, and Europe, and by 2040 for the rest of the world. But rather than pay drivers directly to trade their gas-burning vehicles for electric ones, the company will impose an extra fee on trips completed in an electric vehicle to incentivize drivers to make the switch.
For a dollar extra, riders can specifically request a hybrid or electric vehicle. Uber drivers who use hybrid or electric vehicles to pick up passengers will get an extra 50 cents per ride, while drivers using specifically battery-electric vehicles get another dollar on top of that — for a total of $1.50 extra per ride.
Uber is also announcing new partnerships designed to get more drivers in less polluting vehicles. In Los Angeles, Uber drivers can rent hybrid or electric vehicles through Avis’ new EV rental program. Drivers in San Francisco can rent a vehicle with Ample technology and quickly swap their EV batteries in mere minutes, then return to the road fully charged.
Uber has been linked to rising car congestion and increased pollution in cities. A new study from Carnegie Mellon found that the benefit from people ditching their cars to use ride-hailing services is negated by new vehicles added to the road by aspiring Uber and Lyft drivers.
Lastly, Uber is expanding its public transportation feature to more cities. The company is launching its journey planning feature, which allows customers to swipe through bus and train schedules and plan their entire journey on public transportation, in Atlanta, Auckland, Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Guadalajara, Philadelphia, Rome, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai.
In addition, Uber is launching Uber Transit, which allows customers to plan multimodal trips including trains, buses, walking, and Uber rides in Mexico City and London. They are the third and fourth city to get Uber Transit, after Sydney and Chicago.
For years, Uber has faced criticism for its negative effects on public transportation in the US. Declining bus and subway ridership has been pegged to the rise of Uber’s popularity in dozens of cities. The company hopes to blunt that criticism by giving transit equal footing in its app.