In April 2016, Uber arrived in Argentina and ever since, we have learned a lot about Buenos Aires needs, its challenges and how can we contribute to help the city move around.
When we got here, Buenos Aires was the largest city in the world where our service wasn’t available. As we have witnessed in the more than 550 cities where Uber operates, ride-hailing services bring lots of benefits to the cities and the people who inhabit them, and we couldn’t wait to introduce them to all the citizens of Buenos Aires and the rest of the country.
First of all, ride-hailing and ride-sharing takes cars off the road. When people have a wide variety of safe and reliable transportation choices available, such as Uber, they tend to leave their cars at home and make use of other means of transport. With time, they start to reconsider the choice of even owning a car. And this makes sense – personal cars are extremely inefficient, spending 95%+ of their time parked – taking space away from public parks and pedestrian zones. At Uber, we’re committed to being an alternative to personal car ownership.
And we are taking it one step further. We started with the mission to make every car a shared car, but with innovations like UberPOOL we are helping make mass carpooling a reality. By getting more people in fewer cars, POOL is helping to reduce congestion in some of the world’s biggest cities. Every empty seat we can fill means one less car on the road. But to get to uberPOOL first we need both drivers and riders to experience uberX, the basic service that is currently available in Argentina.
Uber also creates economic opportunities for drivers who find in Uber a flexible way of making extra income. More than one million people in Latin America drive with Uber every month. The amazing thing is that they each use Uber differently?—?working when, where and how they want.
Uber fits into multiple life circumstances: from drivers who want full-time work to people just looking to earn some extra money between classes or stay active after they retire. Recently we added a feature in Argentina that allows people to chose in which direction they want to go and only take riders going that way. A great alternative to promote car-pooling and help people cover the cost of gas and parking for going to work every morning. However, we’ve discovered that it’s not just people’s individual needs that drive their use of the app.
Regulation also plays an important role, because when cities make it expensive or time-consuming (or both) to begin driving and to stay on the platform, drivers have less flexibility. When more drivers join the app and people have a larger network in a city, riders enjoy lower pick-up times and drivers benefit from less downtime between trips. This means shorter pickup times and more time spent with a paying passenger in the back of the car.
This means we can grow the overall number of people who have access to work with Uber while reducing wait times for riders and reducing the amount of time drivers spend idling. That’s an exciting set of evidence for the future of on-demand transportation.
Improved mobility also brings substantial gains to other, non-related businesses, as riders find it easier to get to bars, restaurants, and small businesses, wherever they may be. Uber also helps people who live in underserved communities to get, for example, to the train or subway station that takes them to their jobs working as a complement for public transportation.
The tourism industry benefits as well. If you recently visited Buenos Aires or you are currently living here, it’s possible that you relied on Uber to get around: during the first year of Uber in Argentina more than 140,000 travelers from 89 countries relied on Uber to move around the city.
Uber will continue seeking an adequate regulation and trying to offer safe, sustainable and efficient mobility solutions for all Argentines. Although we had a bit of a difficult arrival in Argentina, we have learnt from our mistakes and are very excited about everything we have achieved during our first year. We will continue working hard towards our goal of helping more and more people get to where they want to go and there’s no doubt we will continue growing and creating thousands of economic opportunities as we do it.