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Uber open for a shared ride in India, but won't get into minority deal

The company's recent deal with Grab in South-East Asia has freed up resources which will be invested across people, products and partnerships

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Uber open for a shared ride in India, but won't get into minority deal
Barney Harford
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Ride-hailing app Uber on Wednesday said it will be doubling down investments in India mainly in products, people and strategic partnerships.

"We are doubling down on our investments in this country like never before. India is absolutely a core market, now and in the future. Uber's success is hard-coded to India's success," Uber's chief operating officer Barney Harford said in a conference in the national capital.

The company's recent deal with Grab in South-East Asia has freed up resources which will be invested across people, products and partnerships that can better serve this country and the cities that we operate in, he said. Though, he did not reveal how much will Uber invest in India.

On reports of a possible deal with Ola, Harford said while the company is open to discussions, there is no interest in doing a minority stake deal in India.

Both Uber and its rival firm Ola are backed by Japan's Softbank Group.

Uber India president Amit Jain said the company has no major plans to expand to more cities in India. Uber operates in about 30 Indian cities and India accounts for 10% of its rides globally, according to Counterpoint Research.

Uber also released on Wednesday a report by Boston Consulting Group 'Unlocking Cities: The impact of ridesharing across India'.

According to the study, four major Indian cities are 149% more congested than comparable cities in Asia and the country is losing over $22 billion a year in peak traffic hours compared to travel time during non-peak hours in those cities.

On an average, commuters in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai are taking 1.5 times longer to travel a given distance.

The study also explains how ride-sharing would reduce private cars by 33-68%. Over 79% of the people who plan on buying a new car in the next five years would refrain from doing so if ride-sharing matches car ownership for affordability and convenience.

"We continue to be at the forefront when it comes to unlocking the true potential of ride-sharing for India. Through this study, we are hoping to draw the attention of administrators and urban planners on how shared cars and mobility can be part of the solution versus individual car ownership," Jain said.

By reducing private cars, increasing vehicle utilisation, improving public transport adoption and optimising infrastructure planning, ride-sharing could reduce congestion by 17-31%. Overall, travel by public transport accounts for 19% and 54% of kilometres travelled in Delhi and Mumbai, respectively, according to the study.

"In the coming months, we will introduce several India-first innovations that will help bring the benefits of ride-sharing to many more Indians and enable us to work with the government towards a common goal -- reduce private car ownership and expand access to public transit systems," Jain said.

IN DRIVER’S SEAT

  • The company's recent deal with Grab in South-East Asia has freed up resources which will be invested across people, products and partnerships
     
  • Uber has no major plans to expand to more cities in India
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