uberindia

Online taxi hailing application Uber will invest $1 billion in India in the next six to nine months, reports LiveMint. Uber will invest this money primarily in improving its operators, expanding to other cities, developing new products and payment solutions and to set up a better support network.

Uber has been ramping up its service in India, its second largest market after the US, with various initiatives to encourage user adoption. Some of these include:

– Earlier this month, Uber resumed payments via credit cards in India after nine months. The company had stopped after RBI issued a directive that Card Not Present (CNP) transactions for purchases of goods and services in India had to be processed through Indian banks and payments needed to be made in Indian rupees.

– In May, Uber started testing out cash payments in Hyderabad. Globally, Uber does not accept cash payments in any other city. The company subsequently expanded these services to Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kochi and Jaipur among other cities.

– After launching intercity shuttle services between Pune and Mumbai called UberINTERCITY in May, Uber launched UberX for intercity travel as well. This would allow users to either book an SUV for upto 6 people for Rs 3,999 or book an UberX for upto 4 people for Rs 2,799.

– The same month, Uber upgraded its in-app SOS button which would enable it to have closer coordination with local police control rooms in case of an emergency. The company had mentioned that when users pressed the SOS button, it would generate an alert automatically and send it directly to the local police control room.

– In April, Uber tied up with Zomato to let Zomato’s users instantly see the estimated pickup time, fare and travel time to the restaurant they are looking up, from their current location by an Uber taxi. As part of the integration, when users would search for a destination they would also get an option to book a ride with Uber which showed up in the public transportation panel.

– The same month, Uber launched an on-demand auto rickshaw service called uberAUTO on its platform in Delhi, that allowed users to book auto rickshaw rides in the city. Hired autos would ply at government approved metered fares and would have to be paid for in cash at the end of the ride.

Uber court case: Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court granted some relief to online cab hailing service Uber and set aside the Delhi government’s ban on the service. The taxi hailing service had moved to court a week before seeking to lift the ban on its services and challenge an order of the city government denying extension of its licence to operate radio cabs in the national capital.

Uber and other app-based taxi services were banned in Delhi  following the rape of a 27-year old woman by one of the Uber drivers in December, when the Delhi Government considered cancelling the permission of Uber and scrutinizing the permits of all private taxi services. The Delhi transport department had then banned Uber the same month, and later brought them under the radio taxi license. Uber however resumed operations in Delhi in January, after applying for a radio taxi license, which was  rejected.

In February, the Delhi government transport department had started a consultation with the Centre to block the IP address of Uber and shut down its operations in the country if it did not get a radio taxi licence to ply.

Also read: The implications of California Labor Commission ruling that Uber drivers are its employees