Uber entered the bike taxi market on Tuesday, with the launch of UberMOTO in Gurgaon. The option of choosing a bike taxi is integrated into its current app.
Commuters can choose a bike taxi the same way they order cabs on the Uber app. Price of a ride starts at Rs 15 (base fare) + Rs 3/km + Re 1/minute, with Rs 20 as the minimum fare. This is the second city where Uber is offering bike taxis, following their Bangalore launch earlier this month, though they haven’t launched a price war yet, as they have done with their aggressively-priced cabs.
Company officials refused to mention the number of bikes currently registered with them, though sources said they have 40 in their stable. “UberMOTO wants to reduce congestion by helping fill every empty seat on bikes on the road. The new product enables riders to push a button and share a motorbike ride within minutes,” said Gagan Bhatia, GM, Uber-Delhi. He added that bike taxis are a great way for people to save time and money on short trips across town, and provide last-mile connectivity especially to and from Metro stations. All bike owners who register with the platform will be verified and expected to wear helmets. They will also carry a helmet for the customer, riding pillion. Usual safety features like GPS tracking and sharing of trip details, available with other Uber services, will also be offered to UberMOTO users.
The launch follows Uber’s agreement with the state government to introduce technology-based ride-sharing services in Haryana. Uber also plans to collate data from rides and share trends with the government to estimate the impact of the service in reducing congestion. Earlier this month, Uber had signed an MoU with the state government, under which it will invest Rs 120 crore in technology-based ride-sharing services, which would include peer-to-peer transportation using private vehicles, where the driver is reasonably compensated for expenses, tolls and other related costs.
Meanwhile, YaYa, another city-based bike taxi service, is also on the verge of launching a similar service in a day or so. I t is a bike-pooling option, where the commuter and the rider can mutually decide the amount and mode of payment. The feature is called Share Your Ride.
Other players expressed mixed feelings about the launch. While some are glad the market is consolidating, others felt Uber’s use of white number plates for bike sharing is against the regulations. “UberMOTO will be able to reach out to a much larger population and create awareness about the service, thereby unlocking the latent demand. Toying with the regulation is their business call, however. We would prefer not to comment on that,” said a Baxi spokesperson.
Gurgaon police commissioner welcomed the launch, saying, “The service is great as it will provide last-mile connectivity, especially to and from Metro stations. It will also encourage people to reduce use of cars,” said Navdeep Singh Virk.