Uber has now surpassed car rentals as the business traveller’s first choice for transportation, according to a report by Expenses management company Certify.
The company surveyed over 30 million expenses transactions in 2015 and found in the fourth quarter of the year, 41 percent of the rides taken by corporate travellers in the U.S. were with Uber, in comparison to 39 percent with rental cars and 20 percent with taxis.
Robert Neveu, Certify’s CEO, described the findings as evidence of the business community placing greater trust in Uber as provider of transport, whether that be based on cost or reliability.
“It’s a very big shift in spend. I think companies are saying, look we feel comfortable with the liability and risk in allowing our employees to use these services. If you’re a ground transportation provider, you’ve got to come up with a solution to compete with this, or you’re going to lose market share.”
The report’s findings come as a boost for Uber, particularly after news of $2.5 billion was leaked earlier this week. Uber has still failed to hit a profit despite huge expansion and diversification.
Uber has also announced its food delivery service in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York will be expanded beyond the limited number of establishments that participated in its testing. Any restaurant in these cities locations can now sign up to be part of the service, according to Eater.
“The initial test period in Chicago, New York and San Francisco proved quite successful and we’re really pleased with the results,” says Webb.
“We’ve been working closely with UberRUSH drivers and helping to train them on the sensitivities of handling and delivering food, which is fundamentally different from handling other goods.”
Uber’s food delivery service is based on a partnership with delivery platform ChowNow. Rather than having to staff, pay courier insurance, or manage an additional relationship with a third-party, restaurants who are already using ChowNow will now have Uber drivers ready to deliver at the touch of a button.
Aside from its partnership with Uber’s courier service, L.A.-based ChowNow has earned a reputation for embracing new technology and bringing innovation to the food delivery sector. It was the first food delivery app to accept Google Wallet and Apple Pay, and customizes apps for each restaurant, allowing them to tweak specific options according to each restaurant’s menu.
Uber’s expansion outwards into new areas such as courier services has raised the spectre that this unicorn start up could be set to disrupt and steal market share in new sectors.
UberRush was first launched in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, last year Uber’s chief executive described its deployment of more than 200,000 drivers to deliver packages and other goods within cities as the start of an “urban logistics network.”
Delivery couriers use the same transportation technology that Uber drivers use to pick up and drop off. They receive an alert that an order has been placed, go to the pickup location get the package and then take it to the address given. Customers receive a text alert the package is on its way or has been delivered like passengers get an alert that their Uber driver has arrived.
But established players in the courier sector are confident that Uber offers no existential threat to their well-established business. Uber may compete for quick local, same-day deliveries, but this only represents a small portion of its larger rivals’ business.
Uber’s service is also limited to a small geographical area, whereas FedEx already offers a similar service in more than 20 major metro markets.
Speaking last year on the threat of Uber, Fedex Corp. Chief Executive Fred Smith said, “I think there’s just an urban mythology out there that the app somehow changes the basic cost input of the logistics business or changes the patterns or the underlying business situation and that’s just not–that’s just incorrect. So great company, great concept, but I don’t think it’s … likely to be a major player in the logistics business.”
[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]