UberShuttle: Ridesharing giant starts its first bus service in Europe

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By Euronews
Credit: Uber
Credit: Uber

Ridesharing giant Uber has launched its first bus service in Europe.

It chose the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to introduce UberShuttle, which will allow passengers to reserve a seat on a minibus.

Marketed as a "stress-free" daily commute, the service appears to rival Ukraine's yellow minibuses which riders can flag down for a lift.

UberShuttle operates in other cities, such as Cairo, Egypt, but this is believed to be its first launch in Europe.

Kyiv's transport system almost fully relies on a network of privately-owned buses or “marshrutkas”, which are neither nor affordable for many.

Many residents travel on them and are required to stand for a long time, while those who can privilege cars over buses, meaning traffic jams are common in the roads that were mostly designed in Soviet times or earlier.

The cost of the private buses currently circulating in the city is around it’s 8 Ukrainian hryvnia (around 30 euro cents, while the average salary in Kyiv is around €351 euros).

Authorities have promised reform of the transport system and road reparations in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine for many years.

A group of top officials from the US embassy, Ukranian and Kyiv governments joined Uber's regional manager for the shuttle's rollout this week.

Ukraine's infrastructure minister, who was present at the launch, tweeted that Ukraine was becoming a centre of "digital innovations".

UberShuttle is starting as a pilot program with four routes within Kyiv at a price between 15 and 30 Ukranian hryvnias [roughly €0.5-€1] depending on the distance.

The US embassy in Kyiv tweeted they were "glad to see US businesses providing new services to the Ukrainian public!"

Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klytschko posted on Facebook sharing several photographs of himself with an Uber Shuttle.