UBER is a tech company which develops innovative urban mobility solutions in +600 cities from 77 countries. Whether it is ridesharing (uberX), food delivery (UberEATS) or driverless technology, UBER’s mission is to offer viable alternatives to the personal cars and make urban mobility available to everyone, everywhere, at the push of a button. However, innovation brings change, and change is often feared, misunderstood or just not welcomed. In Romania, unlike in many other countries, UBER’s model is still not defined in the current regulatory framework – this has put the company into a constant reactive/ crisis mode. After the general elections held at the end of 2106 and with a new government in place, the beginning of 2017 presented itself as an opportunity to show key opinion leaders, urban planners, policy stakeholders and the general public that there was a broad community of young people behind the UBER service for whom technology and digital services has become part of their daily life. And that planning the future of mobility, 20-30 years into the future, means planning for a generation that is technology driven.
Position UBER as a part of a wider and irreversible generational shift, the generation of millennials who use technology to communicate, to buy, to read, to learn, to uber around the city and who are shaping the future of cities. UBER commissioned IRES to conduct a research among millennials from Bucharest and Cluj to survey the role of technology in their daily lives. The results were then distributed to national media and broadcasted on social media in the form of a documentary about millennials and the role of technology in their lives. The documentary featured third party validators – anthropologist, sociologists and digital expert.
The creative idea was to establish a powerful connection between technology and the future of urban mobility, in order to position UBER as a viable solution within the mobility mix – public transport, taxi, alternative transport and private cars. And the connection was the SmartGeneration, the millennials who are shaping the way we do things with the help of technology. A group of which 90% believe UBER-like services are useful and should be encouraged and not hindered.
In April, after a stormy spring which also included a massive taxi protest, representatives from the Ministry of IT&C and the Ministry of Transportation invited UBER to present its vision for Romania. Moreover, authorities expressed openness to start a process that would define and encourage new mobility services, such as UBER. It had been the first time in 2 years since the company launched in Romania when that happened.