Uber Brings ‘Public Transport’ in India, Partners with Delhi Metro

The cab-hailing company now wants to become the central hub for all public transport services in the region.

Published22 Oct 2019, 11:27 AM IST
Tech News
3 min read

Uber has more than 200,000 cabs plying on Indian roads, and now it wants to shift focus on integrating with the country’s public transport system, by starting its project in Delhi. For this, Uber has joined hands with the Delhi Metro, which hopes to use Uber as one of the partners to improve the last mile connectivity issue for its riders in the city.

The event on Tuesday turned to be a big affair for Uber, as Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber was here, talking about “how buying a car in India is a trap nowadays.”

The public transport feature will be available through its main app, and once the rider selects their destination, they will be able to see the option along with other cab/bike options.

But eventually, Uber wants to set up a space close to the Delhi Metro Station, which allows commuters to board cab/bike or even its bus service, which is expected to launch in the near future.

We’re not sure how Uber and Delhi Metro plans to make the space to accommodate parking for cabs, auto, buses and set up charging points for EVs. After all, there are very few metro stations where large spaces can be afforded. 

For now, the public transport option on the Uber app works similar to how it is available on Google Maps. The navigation-centric platform offers different transport modes, giving users the travel time estimates spread across metro, bus and even auto in the country.

Metro commuters will get a better idea of their travel times.
Metro commuters will get a better idea of their travel times.
(Photo: The Quint)
This is how the public transport services will work through Uber.
This is how the public transport services will work through Uber.
(Photo: Uber Transit)

Coming back to Uber, the company also talked about working with Delhi Metro to integrate payment solutions, allowing people to take metro rides and pay for the ticket through its app. But none of this will be available right away.

The Delhi Metro chief, Mangu Singh also confirmed that Uber will be setting up small kiosks at the stations, but it’s just one of the company that will be offering its services to the commuters.

Manik Gupta, Head of Product, Marketplace & Maps at Uber, pointed out that most people in Gurugram are using Uber Moto to and from offices to Metro stations in the region. Which elucidates the reason behind Uber working with the Delhi Metro.

“Owning Car is a Trap”

When quizzed about the recent statement about “how millennial using Ola/Uber has led to slowdown in the auto sector,” Dara shared an interesting insight at the event.

“We’re moving from model of car ownership which is a trap that prevents innovation.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber

To further elaborate on this comment, Uber mentioned that in India only 1 in 22 owns a car, while rest of them have started adopting ride-sharing (Uber Pool/Shuttl) options to commute.

With the Public Transport ecosystem, Uber wants to become the hub for all modes of transport. But having succeeded in the US and other countries, doesn’t imply it will work in a country like India as well, where the the existing infrastructure has proven to be inadequate to support the growing commuter base.

After all these years, Delhi Metro’s objective of providing feeder buses for commuters has come to nought. Now, it’s hoping for help from private entities like Yulu, Uber and possibly Ola to solve the issue of last-mile connectivity in the Delhi-NCR region.

No Clarity on Future of UberEats

In addition to the new product, multiple journalists questioned Dara about the future of UberEats, its food delivery service in India. This venture of Uber is hardly getting the market share, which is dominated between Swiggy and Zomato, who’ve been around for much longer than Uber in this space.

The company has integrated both its ‘ride’ and ‘eats’ service into one app for Android and iOS users across the globe and India, but its long term viability has been in question. Especially, since reports earlier this year indicated that Swiggy might buy UberEats, which never materialised.

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