It’s official. Uber has chosen São Paulo, Brazil’s “congested financial hub of 20 million people,” to test its helicopter service, UberCopter.
While the ride-hailing behemoth has offered helicopters during rich people events like The Cannes Film Festival, this will be the first time UberCopter goes live full-time.
Why Sao Paulo?
It appears there are three main reasons. First, São Paulo is famous for its rampant gridlock and frequent traffic jams that can stretch for hundreds of miles. That makes it the perfect city for experiments in urban mobility.
Second, Brazil is in the midst of an auto boom, thanks to tax incentives from President Dilma Rousseff.
And lastly, São Paulo has a “glut of helicopters” that are, on average, used 400 hours per year. However, they have the capacity for 2k hours. Therefore, that means Uber has room to “quintuple usage without adding a single helicopter to its 400-strong fleet.”
How’s it work?
Here’s a reporter’s first-hand account of his UberCopter trip, edited down.
An UberX driver picked me up and dropped me off at the helipad. The UberCopter concierge called three times during the drive to coordinate my departure.
Once inside the helicopter, it took about 15 minutes for clearance. The ‘paperwork’ was minimal – I punched in a few personal details in two minutes in the app.
The flight took 10 minutes and cost 211 reals ($64), plus 30 reals ($9) for the car ride, or about twice what the trip would have cost by cab alone. However, the same trip in a cab could have taken an hour or two.”
Source: TheHustle / Image: Paulo Fridman