Uber Reaches 1 Billion Rides
The controversial ride-hailing company shows no signs of slowing down.
If you want to use Uber to get from point A to point B this New Year's Eve, the ride-sharing service's surge pricing will likely be hard to avoid -- but not for a London passenger named Marvin who just was gifted a year of free rides this week after making the company's 1 billionth trip.
In a blog post touting the milestone, the company said that that it will be sending the uberX driver, Ara, on an all-expenses paid vacation to "the Uber city of his choice," and making a donation to Hackney Pirates, a children's non-profit organization that is based in the neighborhood where the ride originated.
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With 1 billion rides in the rearview mirror, it seems that the embattled startup has its eye on helping its users make travel plans too. Uber filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a mobile app that would let users make an itinerary, book accommodations, reserve flights and get Uber rides back and forth to the airport.
The one wrinkle for now is that Uber and its competitors aren't allowed to pick up passengers at many major airports around the country, but if the last five and half years have proved anything, it's that the company is not afraid of a legal or regulatory battle.
Related: What You Need to Know to Compete With the Surging Sharing Economy
But just as Uber is growing other arms of the company, such as through a partnership with Facebook and its food delivery app UberEATS, its pioneering competitor Sidecar closed its doors this week after three years in business. Before shutting down, Sidecar had raised $35 million in investor funds, while Lyft raised $1.3 billion.
Uber raised a whopping $7.4 billion, and counting.
Related: Transportation Tech War of the World: Uber Gets Another $2.1 Billion and Lyft Partners Up to Take Over Southeast Asia and India