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Uber to shift focus away from cars to electric bikes and scooters for short trips

Shehab Khan
Uber is looking to build an ‘urban mobility platform’: Getty

Uber is set to shift its focus away from cars and towards electric bikes and scooters for shorter journeys.

Individual modes of transport will be utilised as part of the app’s long-term strategy, according to the company’s chief executive.

Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged the move will mean Uber takes a financial hit in the short-term but said it was the direction the organisation wants to head in.

“During rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-tonne hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks,” he told the The Financial Times.

“We’re able to shape behaviour in a way that’s a win for the user. It’s a win for the city. Short term, financially, maybe it’s not a win for us, but strategically long term we think that is exactly where we want to head.”

In April, Uber acquired the bike sharing company Jump, which will soon launch in Berlin having already established itself in eight US cities.

Uber made a loss last year despite revenue from its taxi app growing (AP)

The firm has also struck deals with Masabi, an app that provides mobile ticketing for public transport, and Lime, an electric scooter company, with the intention of developing Uber into an “urban mobility platform”.

Uber made a loss of $4.5bn (£3.5bn) last year and is believed to be considering going public.

The company argues that short term losses are required to achieve long term profits.

The announcement on Uber’s future strategy comes days after the company agreed to pay 56 current and former employees a total $1.9m (£1.5m) to settle sexual harassment claims.

The ride hailing company will also pay the workers an additional $11,000 each, on average, as part of a class action brought by 485 people who say they were discriminated against during their time at Uber.

Two Latina engineers who led the class action allege they were paid less than white, Asian and male colleagues.

The pair say they were subject to harassment and a hostile work environment at Uber because of their ethnicity and gender.

A spokesperson said: “We agree with the plaintiff’s motion which states that ‘the class has responded extremely favourably to the settlement’ with amounts that are ‘fair, reasonable, and adequate’.”