Uber unveils US shuttle service, expands Costco tie-up to woo price-conscious users

FILE PHOTO: Uber signage is posted at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 10, 2022. REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo

(Reuters) -Uber Technologies is introducing a shuttle service in the U.S. and widening a delivery tie-up with membership-only retailer Costco as part of a series of initiatives unveiled on Wednesday to attract price-conscious consumers amid competition from rival Lyft.

The initiatives were unveiled at the company's GO-GET annual event for new products and are meant to maintain growth at the ride-share and delivery giant after a strong 2023 that saw it reporting its first-ever annual profit.

The San Francisco, California-based company said it will allow Uber Shuttle users to reserve up to five seats in advance on buses operating in high-traffic areas like airports, concerts, and sports events.

Uber will partner with local fleet operators for the service, which will use vehicles with a capacity of 14 to 55 seats.

The company said it will also allow users to schedule shared rides and announced a student discount on its Uber One membership.

On the food delivery front, it said it will offer Costco members in the U.S. ordering through Uber Eats additional discounts on their orders and a standing offer for 20% off on the annual Uber One plan.

While Lyft doesn't provide shuttle services like Uber, it offers a Transit mode feature, enabling users to access schedules of nearby shuttles, trains, and ferries through its app.

In recent months, Lyft has intensified competition with Uber, eliminating surge pricing amid a resurgence in ride-share demand driven by employees returning to offices and holiday travel.

Analysts suggest that the North American market might be nearing maturity, prompting both companies to seek new avenues of growth, such as advertising and subscription services.

Fares of UberX and Lyft Standard ride-sharing products have largely remained unchanged over the past two years, according to market research firm YipitData.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik and Arsheeya Bajwa in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)

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