Uber is responsible for a large number of cars on the road, and studies suggest that ride-share services account for large shares of CO2 emissions as well. To reduce that impact, the company recently introduced Uber Green, an option that lets you pay a bit more to get an electric or hybrid car. So far, Uber Green has been available in around 50 cities, but Uber has announced that it’s greatly expanding it to 1,400 new North American cities and towns, including Calgary, New York City, Miami and Houston.
To get an EV or hybrid, you just select a ride and a card will pop up asking if you want a green vehicle. If you choose the option, you’ll be charged an extra $1, with half of that going to the driver. The service first launched late last year in the US, but has been available in Europe since 2019.
Uber is trying to help drivers shift over to zero-emissions vehicles with a number of new or expanded programs, too. Starting in Los Angeles (with plans to expand across the US in 2021), it will allow drivers to use zero-emissions cars through a new, affordable Avis EV rental program. And this month, San Francisco drivers can rent vehicles using Ample technology that allows them to swap their EV batteries “in mere minutes,” the company said. It’s also offering expanded EV charging discounts via EVgo across 800 US locations.
The ride-sharing company has also expanded its journey planning service to 10 more cities. That will let you plan your entire public transit journey, “from swiping through real-time schedules to walking directions to and from transit stations” directly from its app, Uber said.
Separately, Uber is also working to provide information and service around the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, it teamed up with vaccine manufacturer Moderna to deliver “credible information on vaccine safety through Uber’s in-app messaging,” it said. The two companies are also working with public health organizations to improve vaccine access, possibly by providing rides to appointments and adding vaccination text reminders to its app, among other measures.