Amidst its struggle to find the missing piece for success in the Indian ecosystem against homegrown rival Ola, Uber is currently in the process of relaunching its auto service, UberAuto. As per reports, the service will be first launched in Bengaluru and Pune.
Uber users in these cities will soon find the ‘book an Auto’ option on the platform. As claimed by the company in an official statement, the Uber autos will be equipped with all safety features similar to cabs, with only verified and pre-screened drivers on-board. Also, users can pay via Paytm, cash, and debit/credit cards.
Earlier, Uber auto services were launched in April 2015 on an experimental basis in New Delhi, Coimbatore, Indore, and Bhubaneshwar. However, despite claiming positive response from the driver as well as the consumer communities, the company shut down the service just 7 months after the launch in December 2015.
As stated by Uber spokesperson to Livemint on the recent launch of UberAuto services, “The company had paused the service to see how that side of India’s transport ecosystem evolves. Auto rickshaws are ubiquitous to mobility options in many Indian cities. To expand transportation choices for our riders, we are excited to launch AUTO in Bengaluru and Pune.”
Uber, under the leadership of its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, is trying to make a comeback after a series of scandals and leadership issues faced last year. The company recently grabbed around $10 Bn from SoftBank at $48 Bn valuation (a 68.5% drop from earlier $70 Bn).
Incidentally, SoftBank is also a major investor in Uber’s Indian rival Ola, and had participated in Ola’s $2 Bn funding round in October 2017. Ola is already running Ola Auto services across 73 cities with over 120K autos associated with the company.