The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company, Uber, recently launched its IPO. Now, the company is mulling to experiment with bus service in India. Uber bus service will offer mass transport for value-conscious users. The move will also work as the company’s growth strategy in the country.
“We are in the process of building the product and refining that. There are pilots that are live in parts of Latin America and Middle East. So they are the archetype of markets that would look like India,” Pradeep Parameswaran, Uber India and South Asia head told Moneycontrol in an interaction.
Uber bus service detailed
India won’t be the testbed for Uber bus service as the company is already running trials in Cairo, Egypt since October. Just like booking a cab, the Uber bus service will allow users to use the Uber app and reserve their seat in an air-conditioned bus. Uber will scan other passengers traveling in the same direction as the rider, does allowing to reach the destination with fewer stops.
“I am hoping that in India we will be out in the next 12 months or so. Fundamentally we can say that buses play an important part of pubic transport. Every version of a well-performing transit solution will require buses,” Parameswaran added.
Where Ola failed, can Uber succeed?
Uber won’t be the first ride-hailing company to launch bus service in India. Uber rival, Ola had introduced a similar concept via Ola Shuttle in 2015. However, after scaling across multiple cities, the company wrapped up the business in 2018. The company said that it wanted to focus on emerging categories such as Ola share, auto, electric vehicles and more.
With the new strategy, Uber wants to use the bus service to help gain traction among the masses. In fact, the company has stopped describing itself as a car company since a year.
“Uber has not found its product-market fit in India yet which means that the number of people who can afford air-conditioned cars on an everyday basis, two times is somewhat a limited market,” said Parameswaran.
“Now as the economy grows and the per capita income grows, that segment is growing quite fast. Our ambition is to get reliable transportation to all. And I am very pumped about the work that we have started to do with two-wheelers, three-wheelers, our global plans around buses, things that actually make a difference to a much larger group of people,” he added.