Uber plans to add planes and trains to its platform in ‘superapp’ push

Uber has revealed plans to add long-distance travel booking capabilities to its UK app, as the company accelerates towards becoming a ‘superapp’.

Intercity trains, coaches and flights will all soon be available on the platform as Uber wants to be recognised as one-stop shop for travel that will eventually include hotels.

Uber’s regional general manager for the UK Jamie Heywood claims that the move comes as part of a plan to provide a “seamless door-to-door experience.”

The service will be piloted in the UK first, as it is one of the company’s biggest markets outside of North America, before a wider rollout.

It comes as part of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s dream of creating a “superapp,” a strategy he first outlined several years ago.

But it also a bid to give its core, ride-hailing business a boost as customers use its driver network to move between transport hubs as well as increase commission rates when customers book travel tickets.

Pre-pandemic, approximately 15% of Uber trips were made to airports, so the company hopes that integrating flight booking and ticketing will give a boost to these higher-margin rides.

“It’s fair to say that Covid made it a little bit hard for us to progress as quickly as we would like,” Heywood told the Financial Times, after adding electric bikes and London Underground links to its UK app in 2019.

“With Covid behind us, with this big push into new modes of transport, we want to signal that this is a very important growth lever for us over the coming years.”

User numbers across the UK have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the company announced a 10% fare hike in December across London.

User numbers across rides and food delivery have reached 20 million over the past 12 months and the company has just secured a 30-month license to keep operating in the capital, last month.

“It’s nice to have turned the page on that one and be able to look forward with much more certainty,” Heywood added.

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