‘In a few years, Uber may provide more jobs than Railways’

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on January 09, 2018

BENGALURU, KARNATAKA, 31/10/2017: Amit Jain, President, Uber India and South Asia at the uber partnership with Mphasis launched uber access and uber assist services in Bengaluru on Tuesday . Photo SOMASHEKAR G R N

Cab aggregator partners Mphasis to launch services for the aged, differently abled

Cab aggregator Uber has partnered with IT solutions provider Mphasis to launch two new services, uberACCESS and uberASSIST, in Bengaluru, to be rolled out pan India thereafter. Mphasis, as a part of its CSR initiative, has invested ₹13.6 crore in 50 retrofitted vehicles, which will serve as forward-facing wheelchair accessible vehicles, and to train and certify 500 Uber driver-partners through the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre.

These drivers will steer a fleet of 500 vehicles designed to provide additional assistance to senior citizens and people with accessibility needs.

In an interview with BusinessLine on the sidelines of the launch, Amit Jain, President, Uber India and South Asia, talked about his priorities for the Indian market. Excerpts:

What new categories is Uber planning in India?

We have been in India for four years and have grown exponentially in the 29 cities that we are in. The way we measure ourselves is, how do we make transportation viable for everyone. And the benchmark we follow is what per cent of a city’s ride happens on Uber.

Today, 1 per cent of a city’s rides across all modes of transportation happen on Uber. Product wise or category wise, there is enough opportunity in what we have right now.

What percentage of a city’s ride do you hope to achieve in future?

Today, we have private cars that are utilised for less than 5 per cent in many cases and that occupy parking spaces. In most cities, the percentage of parking space occupied by private cars is 15-25 per cent. But the world that we envision is a world which is pure ride-sharing — to the truest form, where you don’t have one person per car, but 2-4 people per car and you have cities designed for people, where nobody has the need to buy a private car. In India, personal car ownership penetration is 5 per cent versus 70 per cent in the US. We have a unique opportunity to leapfrog the generation of car ownership. The younger workforce is definitely not buying their first car, and many people are deferring or not buying their second car as the need is simply not there, as it is a more convenient and cheaper to just take an Uber.

How many more cities will you expand to in the next 12 months?

We are in 500 cities across 90 countries. In India, we are in 29 cities and may expand to a few more. But we are very happy with the cities that we are in and the potential in those cities.

Have you made any headway with the talks about a cap on surge pricing with the Karnataka government?

We are still in conversation.

With Uber reducing driver incentives steadily, how viable is it to be an Uber partner?

The earnings of a driver partner is a combination of two things — organic earnings, which the rider pays, plus the incentives that we provide, that’s what a driver-partner earns in gross. That, minus his expenses on the EMI and maintenance, are his net earnings. His net take-home earnings have to be more attractive than other viable alternatives. If that’s not the case, we don’t have a business.

We have close to 300,000 active driver-partners on a monthly basis. The way I think about the opportunities that we are creating is, take the example of the Railways, which is one of the largest public sector employers in the whole world; we have the opportunity to provide more livelihood opportunities than the Railways, just a few years from now. That’s where we are headed.

Published on October 31, 2017

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