After streamlining its operations in India, Uber is working on its expansion into public transport and bike-taxi in many cities. To further bolster its growth in the country, Uber has now announced a four-fold expansion of its operations.
According to a Business Standard report, Uber India is planning to increase its presence from the current 52 cities to 200 cities in the country by 2020. Moreover, the US-based cab aggregator reportedly believes that the key driver of this expansion will not be car-hailing but its bike-taxi services.
As of now, Uber operates its bike-taxi services in 30 cities in the country and despite not operating in the Karnataka and Maharashtra, Uber claims to facilitate over 150K trips a day. Notably, Uber is currently working through regulations in these states.
In addition to the bike-taxi services, the company is also betting its eye on three-wheelers service in the country.
President of Uber’s operations in India and South Asia, Pradeep Parameswaran, said that Uber’s plan is to go from being in the cab-aggregating business, which is based on the high end of the market, to play a key role in the middle and the mass segment of the market. “Earlier we did not have the products that were relevant for people outside cities,”
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India does not move in cars, Indians move in two- and three-wheelers, and buses – Parameswaran
Parameswaran added that while Uber will providing its car-aggregating service in most of these cities, it aims to provide two-wheeler service in all the cities if there is regulatory permission. “Cars will be available in some shape, but Uber’s value proposition will be based on our mass products, not on premium AC cars,” Parameswaran was quoted as saying.
Interestingly, the company’s announcement on expanding its bike-taxi service comes on the heels of its launch of Uber for Public Transport for the Indian market which is expected to start with Delhi.
Answering questions related to Uber’s profitability in the country, Parameswaran said the company will remain in investment mode for a while and will make a steady move towards profitability.
Uber Plans To Ride High On Bikes
For its expansion plans, Uber is reportedly willing to partner local players that offer a last-mile proposition, which is similar to the company’s bike-ride services. Notably, Uber was reportedly in talks with Bengaluru-based bike rental startup, Bounce, to list its two-wheelers on Uber’s app.
Highlighting the need for a shift in operations, Parameswaran brought out that car-hailing services are witnessing a slight downfall in intra-city operations. “Growth in the car business has matured, and from the role, it plays in our portfolio today, it is likely to be a driver of profitability,” he added.
Parameswaran said that Growth in the car business has matured, and from the role it plays in Uber’s portfolio today, it is likely to be a driver of profitability. This might be the reason why Uber is rethinking its propositions in the market and hence the company now is reportedly witnessing a substantial opportunity in the bike-taxi and three-wheeler market. Parameswaran said that the need for last-mile connectivity is giving the business sense to bike-taxi services.
Moreover, Uber is currently working on a pilot project with Bajaj Auto for Qute quadricycles and has deployed 100 such vehicles. According to the company, the responses from both the riders and users have been encouraging and it plans to expand Qute to other markets as well.
Uber also said that riders partnered with its bike-taxi service can earn around INR 10K to 15K per month. Additionally, any bike-owner can earn money by adding his bike on Uber’s fleet of bike-taxis.