Uber Australia has released its first Movement Index, showcasing the changes in travel behaviour and food patterns across Australian regional and capital cities in 2020. 

Changes in how our cities move and a need for food and grocery delivery have been hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic. At Uber, we wanted to share our insights to show how our cities have changed during the pandemic, and how the country is re-opening and recovering.

The Index shows patterns of rider behaviour in July 2020 compared to both April 2020 and July 2019, as well as changes to Uber Eats ordering patterns over similar time periods. 

By comparing shifts in rider behaviour, the Index shows that, for most of the country, Australians are starting to get back to their pre-COVID lives, ordering dinner later and heading out on the weekend. 

Key findings include:

  • During the peak of COVID restrictions, Australians relied on the Uber app as a commuter option and nights out disappeared from diaries. Despite this, Australian transport habits are now almost back to pre-COVID patterns, with the spread of demand on Friday and Saturday nights mirroring this time last year. The exception to this was Victoria. 
  • Victoria was the exception to the national rule – even before new restrictions were implemented on 2 August. July 2020 data shows compared to the rest of the country, Victorians (Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong) were staying at home during social hours, being more likely to rely on the Uber app to confidently commute instead.
  • The afternoon commute peak shifted earlier in all capital cities in April 2020, indicating the impact of more flexible work policies. Sydney-siders were the last to leave around 5pm. 
  • In line with this, Uber Eats dinner peak shifted earlier, from 8pm to 6pm, earlier in the year. 
  • July 2020 data shows early indications of intrastate domestic travel, with shifts in year-on-year Uber request patterns in destinations such as Byron Bay and Cairns. 

The Index also shows differences between how cities move and socialise, with Tasmanians staying home on Friday night and heading out Saturday, while Sunday lunch appears more popular in Sydney and Brisbane compared to other cities. 

The first Uber Movement Index aims to complement other travel and consumer behaviour data points to paint a holistic picture of how our cities moved and continue to evolve during this highly unusual year.

Key findings, analysis and commentary from Uber spokespeople along with a full Movement Index Report can be found here.

*Please note that the Index does not represent the volume or number of rides taken, rather the percentage of weekly rides at that time stamp, showing patterns of rider movement.