Uber has a new plan to lock customers into its transportation ecosystem while also expanding the list of services it offers ahead of an expected public offering in 2019. It’s called Ride Pass, and it’s Uber’s attempt at an Amazon Prime-style subscription service.
Washington, DC and Ford announced an autonomous vehicle (AV) partnership on Monday, a move the pair hopes will also impact areas such as workforce development.
At a press conference, officials said Ford’s AVs will be tested across the District starting as early as the first quarter of next year, with a goal of deploying a commercial AV service in 2021 that could include ride-hailing and food and package delivery. DC joins Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh as Ford AV test cities.
“Both Ford and district officials are committed to exploring how self-driving vehicles can be deployed in an equitable way across the various neighborhoods that make up Washington, D.C., and in a way that promotes job creation,” Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, wrote in a Medium post.
Nissan and EVgo have completed their plan to connect the cities of Boston and Washington, D.C., with a series of nine electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations with 52 fast chargers in total.
The “I-95 Fast Charging ARC” is designed to give EV owners peace of mind and convenience when traveling the 500 miles between the two cities, according to EVgo.
Each station can charge up to four or more EVs simultaneously at a power output of 50 kW. The stations have also been designed and constructed to adapt to future advances in EV technology, including pre-wiring for higher charging outputs to allow easy upgrading to 150 kW fast chargers.
Even though over six billion people—nearly one billion of whom will have disabilities— are expected to live in urban centers by 2050, many of the world’s major urban cities have a long way to go before their infrastructure becomes inclusive for people with disabilities.
In early August, the New York City council voted to forbid Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies from adding any more cars to their fleets for the next 12 months. New York is the first American city to enact such a cap, though other cities are considering similar actions. The action took place amid the specter of six suicides by taxi drivers over the last six months and general concerns about traffic congestion in the city. Lawmakers sought to check the unregulated growth of the services and study just how many vehicles were actually required to provide appropriate transportation options during the pause.
There was, however, one important caveat to the bill that has gone largely unreported thus far: Uber and Lyft are still welcome to add as many wheelchair-accessible vehicles as they like. According to advocates for accessible transit in the future, this exception sets up a future not only for better transportation, but also for innovation around affordable wheelchair-accessible vehicle design.