Melbourne to trial flying Ubers next year

Uber Air is coming to Melbourne. Picture: Supplied.

Melbourne will be the third city in the world to trial a new ‘flying taxis’ service with more Australian cities to follow if the service is a success.

Car share giant Uber unveiled plans for the new Uber Air pilot to be run in Australia, with test flights due to start in 2020, according to news.com.au.

Under the plan, Uber predicts the 19km trip from the Melbourne CBD to Tullamarine Airport would take only 10 minutes, down from up to 60 minutes on the current road network.

The app-based service is also being tested in Dallas and Los Angeles, with plans to begin commercial flights by 2023.

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Uber hopes the program will pave the way for a future of urban air mobility, with quiet electric drone-style aircraft to be operating across the city similar to their current UberX car service.

Uber Regional General Manager Susan Anderson made the announcement at the company’s global Elevate Summit in Washington.

“Since we entered the market in 2012, Australians have embraced Uber wholeheartedly,” Anderson said.

“Today, over 3.8 million Aussies regularly use Uber as a reliable way to get from A to B, and governments across the country have recognised the important role ride-sharing plays in the future of transport for our cities.

“This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.

“We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”

The plan is being backed by the Victorian State Government.

Other Australian companies will be involved in helping provide the necessary infrastructure including Macquarie Capital and Telstra, as well as Melbourne Airport.

Uber predicts the service will help tackle congestion, which currently costs Australia $16.5 billion annually – expected to rise to $30 billion in 2030.