The Indian cab aggregator industry has been the talk of the town. It has almost brought about a cultural change in the travelling habits of a nation which lists online taxi hailing platform Ola as one of its 11 unicorns.
San Francisco-based taxi service provider, Uber parked its car in India three years ago. Starting from Bengaluru, it is now functional in 27 Indian cities. Its journey so far makes for one interesting ride.
Key Milestones of Uber’s Journey in India
- Uber launched its operations in India in 2013 from Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. The app was initially to be accessed by card payments only.
- Uber had a rather infamous start in the country with being in the news for the Delhi rape case by an Uber driver. Consequently, it attracted instant attention from the media and reactions both from the society and the government. The Union Government banned the taxi service provider and further went ahead and banned other similar app-based cab services from operating. Delhi Govt finally lifted its ban from Uber in December 2014.
- After raising a funding of $1.2 Bn, Uber now aimed for a future where people won’t have to own cars. Uber launched UberPool in November 2014, a new feature that lets you pick up other riders on the way to your destination and split the bill, dropping the cost of an Uber ride by half.
- In early 2015, Uber launched the facility of cash payments in India for the payments of cab fares.
- In August 2015, Uber raised $1 Bn in a new funding round from Microsoft and Indian media conglomerate Bennett Coleman & Co., reaching a valuation of about $51 Bn with this round. With that, Uber planned to invest $1 Bn over the span of next nine months exclusively for the Indian market. It aimed at channelising the funds to improve operations, expand into newer cities and to develop new payment solutions.
- In December 2015, Uber launched UberASSIST in India. At the same time, it stopped the services of UberAUTO. Uber also launched its first engineering centre in Bengaluru the same month.
- With 2016 came new troubles for the cab aggregator when it got into a rift with various state governments in India such as Delhi and Karnataka regarding the implementation of road and transportation rules. After being called up for surge pricing and discrepancies in calculation of fares, the government is still resisting complying with the terms of these new-age services. Both Uber and Ola have registered themselves with the Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rule, 2016, where Ola received the license and Uber didn’t.
- In February 2016, Uber launched its centre of excellence in Hyderabad as a part of the agreement between Uber and the Government of Telangana to make$50 Mn investment in the state to create jobs and a state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad.
- In April and May 2016, Karnataka Govt repeatedly issued warnings against the cab service company and asked them to shut down their operations.
- In August 2016 Uber Technologies Inc. sold its China business to rival Didi Chuxing making it the dominant ride-hailing service in China now.
- And just last week, Uber launched more ways to avail its services, now users can order its taxi even without an app.
What’s next for Uber
According to Uber’s official website, Uber has saved the environment, time and money, the statistics of which are sky high. Uber Asia’s head of business Eric Alexander reportedly said that India is Uber’s fastest growing business branch and the company will continue to invest here.
Uber currently has over 500 employees in India, a centre of excellence in Hyderabad and an engineering centre in Bengaluru.
With growing competition from Ola and others and restrictive government policies, Uber has not only sustained itself in India for three years but has continued to thrive as well. The journey for this online cab platform seems to be a bumpy yet exciting ride ahead.