Online cab aggregator Uber has launched its carpooling service UberPOOL in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. The company states that in Delhi and Bangalore, UberPOOL accounts for 25% of all its trips. In both these cities, 50,000 users are using the service every week.
Globally, Uber states that 100,000 users use UberPOOL weekly in 11 cities including New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai. In China, 30 million users use UberPOOL monthly (7.5 million weekly).
Uber claims that users have saved 7 million kms on the road, amounting to saving 300,000 litres of fuel (798 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions). For 2016, the company claims that UberPOOL has saved 1.8 million gallons (6.8 million litres) of gas, and thus 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The company claims that UberPOOL’s fare is 50% less than UberGO, its cheapest service. It says that UberPOOL matches the user with another one heading in the same direction, while it ‘ensures that the original or the other passengers are never taken more than a few minutes’ for this exercise. In a conversation with 4-5 anonymous Uber Bangalore drivers, I got to know that these drivers disliked the service because they had to go to other areas to pick up passengers, and meanwhile delaying the passenger in the car at that time. They also mentioned that their earnings from UberPOOL were lesser than those from regular Uber rides.
Services Uber has stopped recently:
– Surge pricing in Karnataka and Delhi
– Bike taxi service UberMOTO in Bangalore (two months after launch)
– UberBLACK service in India except Mumbai
– UberAUTO in Delhi and UberINTERCITY in Pune and Mumbai
Recent funding: Earlier this week, Uber raised $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, less than a month after Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing (formerly known as Didi Kuaidi). An Uber spokesperson told MediaNama that the investment was part of the global fund and would be utilised in strategic markets like India.
Fares slashed: In April, Uber slashed fares for UberGo by up to 22% in 10 non-metro cities in the country. Fares in Jodhpur and Udaipur were cut by 22%. Mangalore’s fares were reduced by 20% and Ajmer and Trivandrum saw fares cut by 18%.