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Old 5th September 2013, 22:53   #1
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Default Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

Mod Note: Please continue the discussion in the Uber Review Thread (Review: Uber Premium Taxi Service)



Uber, a taxi hailing smart phone App has begun offering its services in India. Uber operates across 18 countries and 44 cities around the world, and India is the latest country in the taxi-booking start up's list. In a pilot run that has been rolled out at Bangalore, smart phone users wanting a taxi can download the Uber app, available for Android and iOS platforms, and book a cab. Uber is following a top down approach in India, with the taxi-booking service currently offering only high end cars such as the Mercedes Benz E-Class, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla Altis for bookings through the app.

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How does Uber work?
  • The Uber smartphone app needs to be downloaded onto an iOS/Android phone.
  • The smartphone user needs to register with Uber by filling out the mandatory details and also has to enter her/his credit card details and CVV number.
  • After registration, the user may use the app to locate the nearest available taxi through the Uber app.
  • Through this app, the user can hail the nearest taxi to take her/him to the required destination.
  • The app will then allow the user to track the taxi, as it makes its way to her/his pick up point.
  • Uber handles the complete billing process.
  • In a nutshell, Uber aims to connect passengers with taxi drivers, making the entire process of taxi-booking/hailing a seamless, mobile experience.

In India, there are a range of taxi rental services such as Meru and Ola Cabs, to name just two. These taxi rental services have options of telephonic booking, online bookings and even mobile bookings through smartphone apps. Click here for Meru Cabs' smartphone app and here for OlaCabs' smartphone app. With Uber offering only the smartphone app and an online portal as the means of booking/hailing a cab, the service does bring in some limitations on board. Also, a credit card is mandatory for accessing Uber's smartphone app based service, another limitation in a country that is yet to have a high penetration/acceptance of credit cards.

Uber's pricing seems reasonable considering the cars it offers for taxi rides. The service currently charges a base fare of 150 rupees, while the minimum fare amount is 250 rupees. Waiting is charged at 2 rupees per minute. With these limitations in tow and the competition (OlaCabs) already having pipped Uber to the post with its own smartphone taxi-hailing app, it'll be interesting to see how the San Francisco based start up (founded in 2009) will adapt to the Indian taxi market, which continues to be dominated by the unorganized sector.

Notably, Uber comes with hefty financial muscle. Google's venture capital arm, Google Ventures, and TPG holdings have reportedly invested 258 million USD in Uber's expansionist activities, in a deal that values the taxi-hailing smartphone app maker at a whopping 3.5 billion USD. It remains to be seen if Uber expands its services to include lower priced taxis in its fold as the Indian taxi market is extremely price sensitive and value conscious. While the high end taxi cabs used by Uber seem reasonably priced for now, entering the mass market segment with the likes of Toyota Etios and Maruti Dzire cabs could allow the company to slash prices in a big way and be a disruptive force for the competition.

Last edited by GTO : 13th June 2014 at 14:37. Reason: Adding link to review
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Old 6th September 2013, 15:34   #2
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

I used the Meru app recently at Delhi and found it very good. I got a sms 30mins prior giving me the driver and vehicle details. I even got an sms saying my taxi has arrived at the pickup point. The metering, reciept everything was transparent. I also got a email copy of the reciept. Very happy with the service.
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Old 6th September 2013, 15:45   #3
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

I have used UBER and boy is it good!, Shining new E-class just a hundred bucks more than OLA. Am sure the pricing is promotional. The ride was super (uber as they would have liked )
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Old 6th September 2013, 16:03   #4
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

There is a similar App advertised in Chennai. Its called 6crores.com. Its i think managed my NTL call taxi guys. The app can be used to hail not just call taxis but also autos. Taxi drivers and auto drivers have to register with them and once they register, they are connected with the customer who hails a vehicle over the smart phone app. It is useful, but has not become very popular yet hence it is not very practical yet.
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Old 6th September 2013, 17:51   #5
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

This is actually quite an interesting app , not sure why that particular name but whats really unique is also the bidding feature in it.... nice effort.

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There is a similar App advertised in Chennai. Its called 6crores.com. Its i think managed my NTL call taxi guys. The app can be used to hail not just call taxis but also autos. Taxi drivers and auto drivers have to register with them and once they register, they are connected with the customer who hails a vehicle over the smart phone app. It is useful, but has not become very popular yet hence it is not very practical yet.
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Old 7th October 2013, 17:09   #6
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Default Bangalore: Uber disrupts Bangalore car rental market

Just came across this interesting piece of news. The problem in Bangalore (as I have experienced a few times) is even a seemingly small 15km commute can take over 2 hours! So the hourly charge over the km rate is a smart move by Uber!

Quote:
BANGALORE: Want to feel a wee bit like Vijay Mallya or Shah Rukh Khan, chauffeured around in a Mercedes or Audi A6, instead of sharing cramped rides in hatchbacks or low-end sedans? That's now very much possible.

San Francisco-based startup Uber, heavily funded by Google, has checked into Bangalore offering on-demand , point-to-point luxury rides at rates that are just about 30% more than for regular cabs.

Consider this: For a ride on the regular Meru cab in Bangalore , the customer pays Rs 80 for the first 4 km, and then Rs 19.50 for every kilometer after that. For a trip on Uber's Mercedes E220 or Audi A6, the customer pays a base fare of Rs 80, an additional Rs 18 per km, and Rs 2 per minute.

In other words, the only significant charge that Uber has over and above Meru's is the per minute charge. A one-hour drive would add an extra Rs 120 to the fare. This has the potential to seriously disrupt the existing taxi market, assuming that Uber will not increase the differential soon.

In fact, Uber was forced over the past few weeks, during its trial run, to drop its prices from a base fare of Rs 150 and Rs 20 a km to its Rs 80 and Rs 18. Uber is present in 43 countries. Uber's USP is also its technology platform that connects riders to drivers though its apps.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/23397972.cms
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Old 7th October 2013, 17:24   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore: Uber disrupts Bangalore car rental market

Actually not that costly at all. Worth trying once in a while in my view.

Lets compare costs. Assuming a median average speed of 15kmph, and a 1 hour ride.

Uber: 120rs(time cost) + 80rs(base cost) + 15x18(distance cost) = 470rs

Meru: 80rs + 11x19.5 = 294.5rs

So, its definitely worth taking a ride in an Uber taxi, especially if you know that the traffic on your route is not going to be bad. Overall, its only about a 50-60% extra cost.
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Old 7th October 2013, 17:28   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore: Uber disrupts Bangalore car rental market

This is great news indeed. Now you can pull into one of those party places in a chauffeur driven car, Like a Boss!
But have they started their services already? I wonder how much these folks will have to spend to maintain a merc or an audi being driven in bangalore traffic
I hope they don't vinyl wrap one of those hideous advertisements on the car.
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Old 8th October 2013, 16:02   #9
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Talking Re: Bangalore: Uber disrupts Bangalore car rental market

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL_FWD View Post
This is great news indeed. Now you can pull into one of those party places in a chauffeur driven car, Like a Boss!
they will definitely have some sort of branding over the vehichles, so don't let anyone at the party spot that! better arrive fashionably late, when the booze has already started flowing..

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Originally Posted by LOL_FWD View Post
I hope they don't vinyl wrap one of those hideous advertisements on the car.
haha! imagine thums up branded 'aaj kich tufani karte hai!' mercs..
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Old 8th October 2013, 16:40   #10
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

Does Uber automatically track one's location based on the cell GPRS signal / GPS & then send the nearest taxi? If yes, this is much more useful than calling call centres & giving them the location trying to find the nearest taxi, especially if one is stuck in a location not exactly known.
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Old 9th October 2013, 11:04   #11
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

Quote:
Originally Posted by csanand View Post
Does Uber automatically track one's location based on the cell GPRS signal / GPS & then send the nearest taxi? If yes, this is much more useful than calling call centres & giving them the location trying to find the nearest taxi, especially if one is stuck in a location not exactly known.
I believe they do so. They actually guarantee a taxi within 15 minutes of logging a request.
However, they seem to have a flat rate of Rs. 2000/- for airport runs to/from anywhere in the city. This is to I quote "Airport rides have been intentionally priced higher than our regular fares to keep the cars within the city limits.". What a downer, I was planning to use this for my next airport run .

Just to clarify on the vinyl ad plastered Mercs point, note that there is no chance of this happening. They are not actually fleet owners but rather they connect you to fleet owners with excess capacity in the city. In other words, you get the same cars that you would have got had you rented the Merc yourself.
Uber seems to catching up quite a bit in the US and is actually backed/funded by Google.
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Old 12th January 2014, 16:40   #12
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

Over the past month or so, I've hailed Uber cabs five or six times in New Delhi. Here are some observations:
  • It's pretty cheap as long as there's no traffic. Considering that these are luxury cars, I think the fare is reasonable. I've taken Uber cabs after work (around 1-2 am) and found the fare reasonable. The maximum I've paid is around Rs 550 for a 16-km ride. On an average, the fare has been roughly Rs 350-400 for 14 km. But during rush hour, I suggest you avoid Uber due to their Rs 2 per minute charge.
  • Cashless. The fare is billed directly to my credit card and a receipt is emailed pretty quickly, along with a screenshot of the route taken.
  • On-demand only. You cannot book Uber cabs at night for an early morning ride. You hail a cab around 30-45 minutes before you need to leave and they'll get there.
  • Can't choose make of the car. You get to know the make of the car after ordering it. A friend once took a Honda Accord to the airport. He told me that the driver said many people cancel the cab request for that car. Apparently everyone wants only Audi/BMW/Mercedes. In the US, there are three different car types (with varying rates) that you can choose from. Would like to see this in India. What if you are a group of 5-6 people heading to a party? You'd like to hail a Fortuner and go together rather than two separate cabs right? Not possible as of now.
  • Clean. All the cabs I've taken have been clean and cosy. Once I took a BMW 3-series cab. It was almost barebones when compared to the Camry, Accord and Audi A4/A6. Apart from that, all rides have been super comfortable. Some even had a coat hanger (maybe standard in these cars, but hey, I liked it).
  • Safe. A colleague took an Uber cab alone at 2 am. She said the driver was courteous, quiet and dropped her home without any needless diversions or long routes. She got an A6, so it was very comfortable too.
  • Discounts. As of now, Uber has a referral system. Till Jan 20, you get Rs 600 per person in Uber credit for inviting others to Uber. When they take a ride, they get Rs 600 off too and the amount is credited to your account after the ride. After Jan 20, this amount will revert to Rs 300 per person. You can use Uber credits over multiple rides. So if you have Rs 600 in credit now, you can take two rides worth Rs 300 each for free.
  • No way to track distance or fare. Although you can see how far the nearest cab is while hailing, once you start a trip, the app doesn't show you the distance travelled, time taken and total fare. You get to see the amount after the driver ends the trip.
  • Driver's want to know where you'll go. They call up soon after you book to confirm your address. That's fine, but I don't like it when they ask where we want to go. Most cabs have an all-India permit and there is a Rs 200 cancellation charge, so there is no point in asking the destination before the pickup.
  • Live in Central, South Delhi, or Gurgaon? Lucky you. Mostly cabs keep roaming around these areas 24x7. However, you might have to wait longer if you live elsewhere.
  • Drivers may not have permits. A friend took an Uber ride in November I think. He said the driver didn't have a UP permit so he had to pay Rs 250 tax while heading to Ghaziabad. I haven't heard the complaint ever since, but best to check. He did say that the driver informed him about this before he got into the car. You can find his post online. On the web, you may search Rajat Agrawal Uber car review for his post on BGR India.
  • Surge pricing. Last but the most important. Uber users have had big complaints with this. Basically, when the demand is likely to be very high, like on New Year's Eve, Uber multiplies the price to keep drivers on the road. Their logic is similar to that of airline companies. The price is higher on holidays. Depending on the demand, the multiplier may go up to 8x (the most I've seen in horror stories online where bills went up to $350). This means you might have to shell out around Rs 3,200 for a ride that normally costs Rs 400. The good thing is, you're notified about surge pricing before you hail the cab.
Hope this helps. Cheers.
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Old 13th January 2014, 11:57   #13
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crow View Post
  • It's pretty cheap as long as there's no traffic. Considering that these are luxury cars, I think the fare is reasonable. I've taken Uber cabs after work (around 1-2 am) and found the fare reasonable. The maximum I've paid is around Rs 550 for a 16-km ride. On an average, the fare has been roughly Rs 350-400 for 14 km. But during rush hour, I suggest you avoid Uber due to their Rs 2 per minute charge.
Hope this helps. Cheers.
Looks like the cheap factor just said bye bye. I got this in my email this morning
Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India-img_2545.png
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Old 18th February 2014, 20:58   #14
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Default Re: Uber smartphone taxi-hailing app makes inroads into India

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Originally Posted by Harneet.S View Post
Looks like the cheap factor just said bye bye. I got this in my email this morning
Attachment 1189929


Chennai fares are pretty cheap in comparison The below is for a ride my family had on 18th Feb in a Merc E-Class booked through Uber. Uber Merc - Rs.165, Local Call Taxi - About Rs.140 I guess, Metered Auto About Rs.30. How could a Petrol head resist a Merc at this price?


How was the service? Brilliant, Luxurious & Cheap

Would be interesting to see how this shapes up in India. Especially the economic viability for Uber and it's partners at current rates.
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Old 23rd February 2014, 02:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Chennai fares are pretty cheap in comparison The below is for a ride my family had on 18th Feb in a Merc E-Class booked through Uber. Uber Merc - Rs.165, Local Call Taxi - About Rs.140 I guess, Metered Auto About Rs.30. How could a Petrol head resist a Merc at this price? How was the service? Brilliant, Luxurious & Cheap Would be interesting to see how this shapes up in India. Especially the economic viability for Uber and it's partners at current rates.

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Had to drop few of my friends, suddenly struck why cant I try Uber. Good service, but don't know how long they will keep the introductory fare. By the way, car was Merc S class.
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