Uber has a new way to solve the concert traffic problem

Uber is taking a shuttle product it developed for commuters in India and Egypt and converting it for an American audience.

The ride-hail and delivery giant announced Wednesday at its annual Go-Get event in New York City it will launch a shuttle service in certain U.S. cities this summer. The service will eventually cater to events like concerts and sports games, as well as airport pickups and drop offs.

Uber Shuttle in the U.S. will repurpose the technology and business model that Uber has built to help commuters in emerging markets where there’s a public transportation gap. Rather than tapping regular gig workers to drive the shuttles, Uber will work with existing local fleet providers who employ commercially licensed drivers to drive vans and buses that range from 14 to 55 seats.

“If you look at what we do in India and Egypt, we go, ‘Where do we want to lay out our own routes based on a predicted demand we see across the city,’” Anthony Le Roux, general manager of Uber Shuttle, told TechCrunch. “We build a network and work with fleet operators in those markets to deploy buses along those routes, and we build and manage the whole system.”

In the U.S., Le Roux said such shuttle services don’t make as much sense because there’s public transit infrastructure and Americans are attached to driving their own personal vehicles. What does make sense, though, is tapping the instances where people are less likely to take their own vehicles. Like if they want to have a few drinks at the ball game or need a cheap way to get to the airport.

The biggest challenge will be to find out exactly where to pick people up and at what times, said Le Roux. That’s where Uber’s massive stores of aggregate data will come in to give developers a better idea of how people are actually moving from airports, stadiums and amphitheaters, he said.

How Uber Shuttle will work

Screenshots of user experience for new Uber Shuttle product, presented at Uber Go-Get 2024.
Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

Uber will launch event shuttles this summer as part of a partnership with entertainment company Live Nation. As part of that partnership, Uber Shuttle will be available at some Live Nation amphitheaters for concert goers in Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Chicago. Uber said it will also partner with Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, Formula One, Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix and other events to provide shuttle services. 

Airport shuttles will come later, said an Uber spokesperson without specifying when exactly.

Uber Shuttle will let riders reserve a seat for themselves or up to five people in a shuttle that goes to and from an airport, a concert or a game for “a fraction of the price” of an UberX, a spokesperson from the company told TechCrunch. Uber promises shuttle prices won’t be impacted by surge pricing, the dynamic pricing structure that causes ride-hail fares to skyrocket when demand is high.

Riders will be able to book their seats anywhere from seven days to five minutes before their shuttle’s scheduled departure. They’ll get a notification about 25 minutes before their departure time to alert them to the designated pickup location. When their shuttle arrives, riders will present a QR code ticket to the driver so they can board, and the rest of the trip goes much like a normal Uber ride, with the ability to tip and rate the driver in the app after the ride. 

During the Go-Get event, Uber also announced a number of other ride-hail and delivery products, like the ability to reserve shared rides and have products delivered from bulk-buy store Costco. The company said Go-Get’s theme this year was on “togetherness,” but from where we’re sitting, it looks like the theme is really on cost-savings. All of the products offered Wednesday, including a $4.99 per month, $48 per year, Uber One membership for students, seem geared to giving users cheaper options for travel and delivery.

This article has been updated to include more information on other products announced at Uber Go-Get 2024.

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