Uber shakes up transit team and cuts 50 jobs
- About fifty employees leave. They got to Uber through the acquisition of Routematch.
- Uber’s Transit team leader quietly left the company earlier this year.
- Uber says it’s committed to its transit offerings and continues to expand the team.
Uber shakes up its transit team after a major U.S. transit agency criticized the company‘s software. Earlier this week, Uber cut around 50 jobs from the group that worked on the technology, according to people familiar with the matter.
The offering was built by Routematch, a transit-focused startup that Uber acquired in July 2020 for $ 114 million. Routematch had 170 employees and 500 client transport agencies at the time of the transaction.
The reshuffle raises the question of whether Uber can remain competitive in the public transport arena. Uber’s transit manager David Reich quietly left the company earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said. They asked not to be identified to discuss internal issues. A spokesperson for Uber said the company intends to announce its replacement shortly.
By purchasing Routematch, Uber has made it clear that it intends to be in the running to win contracts to provide software and other services to transit agencies looking to transport people to towns and villages. . It’s a competitive field of startups and older software companies vying for contracts funded by billions of dollars in local government spending.
A spokesperson for Uber confirmed the job cuts, but affirmed the company’s commitment to this endeavor and noted that the Uber Transit team had more than doubled in size from before the acquisition. by Routematch.
âWe remain steadfast in our commitment to support public transit and continue to innovate on this front. As 2022 approaches, we are redoubling our efforts to support our 500+ Routematch customers and our growing portfolio of TNC transit partnerships, both of which are helping agencies across the United States connect more passengers to public transport, âthe spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson linked the recent job cuts to Uber’s decision to shut down a version of its scheduling software that it deemed to fall short of company standards. This software was recently discontinued by the Boston area transit agency, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
The transit agency used Routematch software for its shuttle service for people with disabilities. But people using the software to plan trips complained that the service was unresponsive and subject to significant delays. Some said scheduled trips arrived five hours late, according to a Boston Globe article.
Uber will continue to support its current customer base and those using an older version of Routematch software, according to a company spokesperson.
Beyond public transit, Uber always tries to encourage people to take higher capacity trips. Earlier this week, Uber executives announced that the company is relaunching its ridesharing service, formerly known as Uber Pool but now called UberX Shared. The service is much smaller than its previous incarnation, which was a big loser. Passengers who choose Uber Shared will get a 5% discount on a solo ride and potentially more if paired with other passengers.
In a tweet announcing the relaunch, Uber Mobility Manager Andrew Macdonald noted that the shared rides had the potential to reduce congestion, although some research has shown this to have the opposite effect.
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