Cab aggregator Uber has commenced its uberPOOL service in Chennai, and expects the adoption level for its new travel option to be higher in the city than elsewhere.
uberPOOL allows users to share a cab with another passenger who is heading the same way. Chennai is the sixth Indian city and 29th globally to offer this option. This ride-share service promises 50 per cent lower charges compared with other Uber services.
“We expect much faster adoption in Chennai than other cities because this city is more open to adopting new technologies. Also, the social togetherness Chennai celebrates is higher than any other city,” Bhavik Rathod, General Manager – South and West India, and Sri Lanka, Uber, told.
While Ola has aggressively expanded and taken the early-bird advantage across categories and geographies in India, Uber has had a measured but progressive expansion plan. It now has 4 lakh drivers across 28 cities in India. With the merger with Didi Chuxing in China, Uber can sharpen focus on another of its large market in India. UberPool, says Bhavik Rathod, heading West and South for Uber India, is a hit in all the five metropolises launched over the last year. About a fourth to fifth of all rides on the platform in these cities are pooled orders.
Since the launch of uberPOOL in New Delhi and Bengaluru, about one-fourth of all Uber trips in the two cities are on uberPOOL, while the share is one-fifth in Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It took uberPOOL about 11 months in Bengaluru, about eight months in New Delhi and 3-4 months in cities such as Mumbai to achieve that share of trips.
“In cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai, a large part of the travel is on the highway, the expressway or the outer ring roads. Hence, the matching has to happen at origin or destination. But Chennai is populated throughout all pockets of the city. So matching opportunities are higher and there will always be someone to join on the way.” Bhavik Rathod added.
The UberPool comes with all the safety features for customers including alerting someone about one’s ride, tracking, and feedback. Its services are restricted between 7 am and 11 pm.