Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER) a ride-sharing service provider has decided to send regular alerts to its drivers for wearing seat belts to ensure safety, according to Reuters. In another report, Uber has partnered with VEMO to add 250 electric vehicles (EV) in Mexico.
Uber stock is trading up and closed 2.1% higher at $38.34 on February 8, in anticipation of its fourth-quarter earnings scheduled today, after market close. Its shares have lost 29.8% over the past year.
Seat Belt Alerts
As per the report, beginning Tuesday, Uber will send regular mobile pings and rider messages alerting the drivers to wear seat belts. The step is aimed at enhancing safety measures, with U.S. traffic deaths spiking at an alarming rate.
With regular alerts, Uber hopes that riders will habituate to buckle up every time they ride. As per a National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) estimate, U.S. traffic deaths spiked 12% to 31,720 in the first nine months of 2021, by far the highest number of road deaths since 2006.
The report further states that NHTSA estimates that although 90.4% of adult front seaters wore seat belts in 2021, back seat passengers have worn them at a much lower rate. Another survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that about 80% of people do not always wear seat belts for shorter trips, or while hailing a taxi, or ride-sharing service.
Uber’s alerts will sound like chimes similar to aircraft seat belt reminders. The company plans to send push notifications at the start of their first five trips and then followed them up at regular intervals.
On launching the alerts, Kristin Smith, Uber’s head of Global Road Safety Policy, said, “The intent is really just to help remind riders that they should be buckling up – every seat, every time.”
Uber and VEMO to Add 250 EVs in Mexico
Uber has partnered with Mexican electric car provider VEMO to increase the number of EVs in VEMO’s Mexico fleet during 2022. The first phase of adding 250 EVs will be completed in the first quarter.
The step is in tandem with Uber’s target to become a zero-emissions company globally by 2040. The date also coincides with the Mexican government’s target of making all its vehicles electric.
The Mexican EV market is in a budding stage and Uber is using its “Uber Planet” offer scheme to encourage drivers to go electric. The scheme enables customers to contribute towards a carbon credit of 0.37 pesos ($0.0179). Uber is also offering the same offer in Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
Commenting on the occasion, VEMO general director, Roberto Rocha, said, “Adding those vehicles, rather than petrol vehicles, will save an average of 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, the equivalent of planting 250,000 trees.”
Wall Streets’ View
Ahead of Uber’s Investor Day scheduled for February 10, Needham analyst Bernie McTernan reiterated a Buy rating and $75 price target on the stock, which implies a whopping 95.6% upside potential.
McTernan noted that the key focus areas at Investor Day will be subscriptions, emerging verticals like grocery, and scaling the advertising business.
He said, “In Delivery, we think Uber can grow its share of bookings by expanding into new verticals with a buy over build strategy that allows for quick penetration. We foresee the company’s Mobility business benefiting from its Uber Pass subscription. We also think the company’s subscriptions would benefit from a more aggressive pursuit of acquisitions.”
With 13 unanimous Buys, the stock commands a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average Uber price target of $65.23 implies 70.1% upside potential to current levels.
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