Survey: Half of passengers use Uber over environmental concerns

Around half (47%) of UK adults who regularly use Uber have claimed they do so due to their concerns around environmental issues, it has been revealed, in the same week that the ride-hailing giant's London licence was extended.

Uber recently launched new measures to help drivers switch to electric cars

Uber recently launched new measures to help drivers switch to electric cars

The finding is a headline result from a new survey by GlobalWebIndex, which asked 2,059 UK adults for their opinions on the future of mobility for urban areas. Questions were centred around ride-hailing, ride-sharing and e-bike rental services such as those offered by Uber.

Of the survey respondents, two-fifths said they believe public transport offerings in their city are “unfit for the future”, meaning that they want more ride-hailing, ride-sharing and e-vehicle rental services to fill this void if rapid improvements to train and bus services are not made.

Of the respondents who claimed to regularly use uber, around half (47%) said environmental concerns were a key factor in their decision to do so. Among the entire pool of respondents, 14% said they directly associate the growth of Uber with lower traffic congestion rates in their city, with 12% making the association between Uber and “greener” cities.

Looking to the near future, one-fifth of respondents said they would like to see a significant increase in the proportion of the fleets of ride-hailing businesses accounted for by electric vehicles (EVs). To bring about this change, Uber has notably introduced a 15p-per-mile “eco-charge” for all London rides, with this money set aside for grants to help Uber drivers purchase EVs.

Public support was lower, however, for e-bikes (8%) and driverless cars (10%).

The results of the survey have been published in the same week that Uber was granted a two-month extension to its London licence. Judges ruled in 2017 that the firm should lose its licence over public safety concerns, but also granted a 15-month extension which was due to expire today (25 September).

Transport for London (TfL) this week agreed to add a further two months to this extension period as it requests more information from Uber. This information will be used to decide whether Uber should be granted another full, five-year licence to operate in London – a decision which is due at the end of November.

“Uber has introduced several new initiatives in London to alleviate regulator concerns, including 24/7 telephone support and the ability to share journeys with friends and family,” GlobalWebIndex’s senior trends analyst Katie Gilsenan said.

“However, some of the most impressive developments we’ve seen by the company have resulted in entirely new products and services geared towards a more sustainable and more mobilised future.”

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Sarah George


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