Earlier this month, Bloomberg published this map showing where Uber operates and where it’s been banned (or is being challenged). You can click on the map for a larger version.
Uber operates in about 250 cities across the world. But it’s being challenged in a lot of them, including Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin, as well as others.
I don’t want to dismiss any of the safety concerns that have arisen lately, because those are very serious and they need to be addressed. Life safety is paramount. But I continue to believe that banning a service that many people clearly want to use isn’t the right solution.
On top of that, I think it could lull many of the local taxi communities into a false sense of security about the future. Uber is moving incredibly quickly. UberX launched in Toronto in September of this year. And UberPOOL – their new carpool service – is likely next.
With these releases, Uber is working towards a specific vision for the future: Their goal is to eliminate the need for private vehicle ownership. Should they be successful, this will not only impact taxis, but also car manufacturers and urban mobility in its entirety.
So as difficult as it might seem right now, I think urban leaders would be better served trying to figure out how to harness these innovations. Cities have been trying for decades to get people out of their cars. Uber wants to do the same.