With an eye on easy mobility in the highly convoluted Bengaluru traffic, Uber and Ola both launched bike taxis, although the latter’s services are cheaper by a rupee. Uber announced their bike taxi feature in a blog post by its India’s president Amit Jain. Ola cabs, Uber’s main competitor in the taxi space, also announced their bike service on the same day.
Uber had first launched UberMoto in Bangkok last month. Uber said the offering is ideal for the short rides. The rates are as low as ₹3 per km. The base fare for Ubermoto is ₹15 and there is a per minute charge of ₹1. Users can see the UberMoto icon in the app and call the rider. All payment options of Uber are available for UberMoto. Drivers and riders both have to compulsorily wear the helmet. On the other hand, Ola cabs are charging ₹2 per km, but the base fare is ₹30.
Ola’s Senior Director of marketing communications Anand Subramanian said, “In a city like Bengaluru wher traffic and congestion is a real problem OLA bike can be a great advantage. We have launched this program on pilot basis to see customers’ reaction and take feedback from them.”
Each Ola Bike will have a mobile phone holder so the driver can easily navigate. Unlike Uber they have rolled out Ola bike across the city without any time limits.
Upon asking how drivers will be compensated, Uber responded: “This is a pilot. Our principles around pricing are pretty straightforward: we want to incentivise bikers to share their journey so drivers will be reimbursed for some of the costs of their trips. In terms of the rider–there will be an upfront price, which includes a service fee for Uber. Uber charges 20% commission for providing the technology to connect riders with drivers.”
The company will face stiff competition from other bike ride services in Bengaluru. There is Baxi which uses similar model as Uber with ₹10 base fare, ₹4 per km fare and ₹1 per minute fare. There is another service Hey Bob which has flat rates of ₹5 per kilometer. Bike taxis are getting popular in India as Delhi NCR also has a few such services. Bikxie and M-taxi are noteable services in this sector.
Uber has turned its focus on the Indian market due to surge in demand. Last year they had launched car sharing service UberPool.. UberPool is currently operating in Delhi and Bengaluru, with a plan to cover major cities by the end of the year. They have also taken steps to help differently-abled people with updating services to helphearing impaired drivers.