Uber Technologies is now offering its Uber Copter service in New York to all Uber riders, previously, only members of Uber’s top two tiers, Platinum and Diamond, could use the service, which began commenced on 9 July 2019, reported Bloomberg.
Eric Allison, the Head of Uber Elevate, said, “The focus in the near term is to open this up to all riders, to demonstrate this vision of the seamless connection between cars and helicopters.”
Through the app, customers are able to schedule a journey as far as five days in advance, until space is full. As with Uber car rides, prices will fluctuate, based on demand.
The journey has three legs. First, an Uber car picks up riders and takes them to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. For trips toJohn F. Kennedy International Airport, Uber has limited pickups to locations below Houston Street, which the company says is designed to maximise customers’ time.
The flight itself takes around eight minutes, followed by an Uber car ride from the helipad near Terminal 8 at JFK to a passenger’s designated terminal. Trips can be booked via one request in the Uber app, instead of three separate ones, though customers will receive an emailed bill receipt for each leg.
Uber is using helicopters operated by Newark-based company HeliFlite and has two pilots on every flight and a maximum of eight people will be on board.
The three-step journey can take as little as 30 minutes, while the same trek by car from Manhattan can take an hour or more, depending on traffic—public transportation generally takes from 50 to 75 minutes.
The company is using Uber Copter as a test run for its goal of creating an ariel ride-sharing-sharing network of eVTOL aircraft, electric vehicles that offer vertical takeoff and landing. Uber has set its sights on Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne for its initial launch of shared air transportation scheduled to debut in 2023, with testing beginning next year.
Helicopters have transported travellers from Manhattan to regional airports for decades, but ride-sharing helicopter services such as Blade Urban Air Mobility allow customers to book flights that cost as little as $195 through an app.