After cabs, autos, and bikes, Uber will be starting an air-conditioned bus service in India in a bid to increase its user base through the introduction of public transit solutions in the country.
The San Francisco-based company’s India and Southeast Asia head Pradeep Parameswaran said that it’s finalising the new product and will be launching the service within 12 months in the country on the similar lines of its pilots that are currently operational in Latin America and Middle Eastern markets of Cairo and Mexico City.
Uber will run air-conditioned buses on pre-identified routes with heavy commuter traffic, focussing on business centers and educational campuses in mind. The users will be able to book a seat on the bus and will be matched with riders going in the same direction.
Launched 6 years ago in India, Uber managed to capture market share by shelling out huge discounts on rides early on that got the Indian commuter hooked. But that sheen veered off as the prices came back to a somewhat operational level.
According to Parameswaran, a lot of Indian commuters would spend money traveling in air-conditioned cabs twice a day, although the demand for cabs has been increasing with a growing economy and rising per capita income, a large chunk of the Indian consumer would still prefer public transit service.
Understanding the need of users, Uber would be looking to tap a market that has been run by primarily chartered bus services and startups such as Shuttl and ZipGo which provide commuter shuttle services in India.
Shuttl which has already raised total funding of around $48.9 million, currently runs over 1,300 buses in five Indian cities. It runs on a subscription model with a monthly price of around Rs 2,500 and claims to cater more than 65,000 customers each day.
Meanwhile, ZipGo has been on the verge of shutdown as it didn’t receive proposed Rs 300 crore funding from Essel Group.
This is not the first time a major mobility player forayed into the public transit market. Ola used to operate its own service named “ Shuttle” in the regions of Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai. Launched in 2015, the service was put to rest by the company due to “ rebalancing” of its mobility portfolio and to focus on Ola Electric and Ola Autos.
The development was reported by Moneycontrol.