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Uber launches in Lucknow; India largest geo market after US & China

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Uber has launched operations in Lucknow, its first in Uttar Pradesh. India is Uber’s largest geographic market and is now present in 29 cities in the country, the most outside the US and China. Globally, Uber is available in over 450 cities in 73 countries. The company claims to have 400,000 drivers on the platform in India. India is still Uber’s biggest market outside the US.

The Lucknow launch comes almost a year after the company launched operations in Guwahati, Nashik, Thiruvananthapuram and Vadodara, a month after it expanded to 7 cities – Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore, Indore, Mysore, Nagpur, Surat and Visakhapatnam.

Uber launched in India in August 2013 in Bangalore. In June 2014, it launched its cheapest service UberX in India, and in October the same year, it launched its Uber for business in the country.

A history of Uber in India:

– In April 2015, Uber launched UberAUTO in Delhi and paused it in December 2015. In the same month, the Indian government ruled out banning cab-hailing apps like Uber and Ola, but said it would impose conditions to make their operations safer.

– In May 2015, Uber started testing cash payments in Hyderabad. Globally, the company did not accept cash payments in any other city till this launch.

– In June 2015, the Delhi Government rejected the applications for licence by Uber, Ola and TaxiForSure. Four months before that, the Delhi 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, banned Uber and later brought aggregators under the radio taxi license. The company resumed operations in Delhi in January 2015 after applying for a radio taxi license, which was rejected.

– In July 2015, it launched UberINTERCITY shuttle services between Pune and Mumbai, started allowing users to book the UberX service for intercity travel as well. This service was paused in December 2015.

– In August 2015, Uber restructured its ride fare for pick ups at the Mumbai Domestic and International airports to include a surcharge of Rs 110. In the same week, it also increased its per kilometer fare for trips that go beyond 15 kilometers in Bangalore.

– In September 2015, Uber launched its car-pooling product UberPOOL in Bangalore in beta.

– In November 2015, Delhi Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of rape, causing bodily harm and endangering the life of a woman under the IPC. This case changed the regulatory landscape for cab aggregators in India, leading to them being banned in many states in India, and state governments releasing policies specifically governing cab aggregators. The incident took place in November 2014, following which, the Delhi Government banned Uber, saying that the company was not allowed to ferry customers in capital, was not an authorised radio cab service, and hence operating illegally. Uber resumed operations in Delhi in December 2014 after applying for a radio taxi license, allowing only those drivers who underwent re-verification of police clearance. In February 2015, Uber rolled out an update to its app in India with a panic/SOS button to alert the local police in case of an emergency.

– In December 2015, Uber launched UberASSIST, a service which provided additional assistance for the differently abled and senior citizens, on its UberX service in Delhi.

– In January 2016, the company expanded UberCOMMUTE, a solution for private car users to offer carpooling options to Bangalore. This was a follow up to its service in Delhi, which was launched in December 2015.

– March 2016 was a busy month for Uber as it launched UberMOTO, the bike taxi service in Bangalore (suspended in May 2016) and Gurgaon. The company hit a roadblock after the Karnataka government deemed the service illegal in the first week of the month, and required bike taxi operators to apply for a license for their service in order to operate in the state. Ola also launched its bike taxi initiative in Bangalore in the same month. In the same month, the company shuttered its more expensive UberBLACK service in India (it operates only in Mumbai currently). It also opened its first engineering center in Asia in Bangalore to hire software engineers to focus on developing India specific solutions for riders and drivers. It also signed an MoU with the Haryana Government to introduce its ridesharing services in the state.

– In April 2016, Ola and Uber ‘temporarily suspended peak and surge pricing’ in Delhi NCR, following Delhi government’s announcement that it would take strict action. The Karnataka Government had already impounded some Ola and Uber vehicles for charging their users over the government decided rate of Rs 19.5/km, after banning surge pricing in the state.

– In the same month, Uber has slashed its rates for its cheapest service UberGo by up to 22% in 10 non-metro cities in the country.

– In May 2016, Karnataka’s transport department ordered Uber and Ola suspend operations in the state since they have not acquired licenses to run cab services, after the department had reportedly seized 60 vehicles belonging to Ola and Uber near Bangalore airport roads last week.

– In the same month, Uber informed the Delhi government that had capped its fares at rates fixed by the government.

– In June 2016, Uber launched its carpooling service UberPOOL in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

– In the same month, it introduced an ‘upfront fare’ for riders in some parts of the US and India. It also slashed rates for its cheapest service UberGo in the Delhi-NCR region after it slashed rates for UberGo by up to 22% in 10 non-metro cities in April.

– In August 2016, launched a web interface to get a UberGO cab in Nagpur, Kochi, Guwahati, and Jodhpur.

– In September 2016, launched ‘schedule a ride’ feature which would let its users book a UberX or UberGO cab up to 30 days in advance in 20 out of Uber’s 28 cities of operation. Note that Ola had launched this feature nearly 3.5 years ago in 2013, 6 months before Uber launched its operations in India. In the same month it said it planned to have 1 million drivers in India by 2018.

– This month, it revised its fares for long distance rides in Pune and Delhi and said it wouldn’t be aggregating buses or vans in India any time soon.

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