×

Uber and Lyft are racing to own every mode of transportation — they're getting close

  • Uber and Lyft each want to be the all-encompassing transportation platform of the future, shepherding people around the world on land, through the air or by water.
  • The companies offer eco-friendly, flexible and even high-end options in different markets around the world.
Uber boat launches in Cairo, Egypt.
Source: Uber
Uber boat launches in Cairo, Egypt.

Uber and Lyft each want to be the all-encompassing transportation platform of the future, shepherding people around the world through whatever means is best suited — and the ride-hailing firms are getting close.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC last week the company wanted to be "the A-to-B platform for transportation."

Khosrowshahi said he wants to serve customers, "whether it's taking a car, whether it's taking a pooled car, whether it's taking a bike, whether you should walk or even now we want to build out the capability for you to take a bus or subway."

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer shares the ambition, telling The Atlantic this week that his company's vision "is to improve people's lives with the world's best transportation" — automobile or otherwise.

Here's a rundown of each company's offering, from last-mile eco-friendly options to flexible and high-end services:

Bikes

Uber announced in April it was buying electric bike company Jump Bikes, diving into the growing bike-sharing market.

Jump, founded in 2010, was the first company to offer dockless bike sharing in the U.S. and operates in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Sacramento and Santa Cruz, California. The company will launch in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2019, according to its site.

According to a report last week from The Information, Lyft is also entering the market. The tech news site said Lyft is nearing a $250 million deal for Motivate, which provides docked bike-sharing programs in eight U.S. markets, including New York and San Francisco.

Boats

Uber launched boat-hailing services on a temporary basis in Egypt in 2017, and now says it offers it in Croatia.

Riders request a vessel in the Uber app, just like they would a car, and select a predesignated dock to start their sail.

Helicopters

Uber has operated helicopters in the south of France since 2016. Initial prices were steep — about $180 per person for a seven-minute ride from Nice to Cannes. The company has since expanded the feature to service other cities in the region.

Trips are limited to essentially daylight hours and charge an additional fee for luggage.

In 2015, the company announced UberCHOPPER in Dubai, which offered 15-minute tours of the city. And last year, UberCHOPPER was available in the Netherlands as a way to travel to a music festival called Mysteryland.

Public Transit

Lyft will soon guide city dwellers through walking and transit directions, the company announced this week. Users will enter a destination in the app and be presented with several travel options.

The feature, which is similar to Google Maps, would offer users a car ride if needed for part of the trip and will integrate with city transit systems. It will roll out first in Marin County and Santa Monica, California later this month.

Uber has hinted at similar public transit integrations but has yet to fully roll out step-by-step transit directions. The company has partnered with a public transit ticketing company, though, to allow users to purchase transit tickets in the Uber app.

Rickshaws

In India and Pakistan, Uber customers can a request a ride in a rickshaw — an open-air, bike-drawn vehicle common in Asian countries.

The feature works like the company's ride-hailing service in the U.S., though fares are significantly cheaper. Rides start at a minimum fare of the equivalent of just 74 U.S. cents.

Motorcycles

Uber India offers motorcycle rides. Riders hail a driver just as they would for a car, and hop on the back of the motorized bikes. Drivers arrive with a spare helmet for the rider.

The feature launched in 2017 and helps users work around India's heavy traffic congestion. Trips start at a base far of just 25 Rupees, or 37 U.S. cents.

Uber also has a motorcycle service in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Scooters

Uber and Lyft are both eyeing an entrance into the burgeoning electric scooter business, the companies confirmed to CNBC. The move was first reported by Axios Friday.

Both companies have applied for permits to operate scooters in San Francisco, where the battery-powered vehicles have clogged up sidewalks and served as protest props.