No, online cab aggregator Uber is not “buying” 200,000 cabs in India over the next 2 years, as indicated by this Economic Times report. The report said that this was for leasing cars to drivers who wanted to join the Uber platform.
However, Uber clarified to MediaNama that it was not buying cabs, but instead providing a platform for people who owned one or multiple cars to find drivers for them to join the Uber platform. This is done through Xchange Leasing, the Mumbai-based car leasing firm in which Uber invested at least Rs 43 crore this June.
Uber’s full statement: “As part of our recently launched pan-India initiative UberShaan, our leasing program will play a big role in mobilising the skilled workforce to become micro entrepreneurs. With our aim to empower a million by 2018 under UberShaan, we expect that potentially one out of the 5 new drivers would be on the platform through our leasing program.”
Leasing cabs is not new to Uber, it had started a leasing program globally in 2013 in partnership with General Motors and Toyota Motors amongst others. In May this year, Toyota Motors had invested in Uber and had stated that it would offer leases to Uber drivers and let drivers make payments with money they earned.
UberShaan is in partnership with NSDC & Maruti Suzuki
Earlier this month, the company launched UberShaan where it would train drivers and help them get on the platform, get commercial licenses and offer vehicle financing and leasing. The company seems to have tied up with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for this initiative, especially under the Skill India program.
Uber has also tied with Maruti Suzuki for this, which will train 30,000 drivers on driving safety. Both Uber and Maruti will conduct a 4 month pilot in Delhi NCR, Hyderabad and Chennai for driver training and onboarding. Drivers will get a commercial license and vehicle financing and leasing at the end of the training. The companies may expand this to other cities depending on the pilot’s results.
Labour Ministry-Uber partnership
In February, the Union Labour Ministry of India partnered with Uber to let people who wanted to sign up as drivers on the platform access the National Careers Service to do so. The Government had launched the NCS portal in December to provide employment services and career counselling.