A full fledged price war is on among a bunch of cab aggregating companies in India, each of whom are taking a take-no-prisoners approach in terms of pricing deals. American start up Uber Technologies has launched a low cost taxi service in India, under the UberGO moniker. The UberGO service will be the least priced offering from Uber in India, rivaling cut prices services from the likes of TaxiForSure and Ola, two other cab aggregating companies that have enjoyed big success in India, in recent times.
UberGO will offer cabs, in this case budget hatchbacks, at a budget price. With a 40 rupees base fare, UberGO will charge travelers Rs 11-12 per kilometer and 1 rupee per minute. The service will cover all the Indian cities that Uber currently has an operation in, and is specific to the Indian car market, where value rules the roost over all else. The Uber also runs two other taxi services in India, the premium UberBlack and the mid range UberX.
The Uber taxi service, well regarded for its seamless and one touch service that uses smartphone apps, has been growing rapidly in a wide swathe of countries across the globe. The company started out as an elite taxi service in India during 2013, but has now moved into different segments to suit market requirements that are very specific to the Indian market. The latest UberGO service is one such initiative in this direction.
The technology company that links cab drivers and passengers recently tweaked its payment mechanism to suit Indian regulatory requirements, by tying up with Indian payment gateway. PayTM. With its latest, low cost foray, Uber will be looking to grab a larger share of the growing taxi aggregating pie in India. Cab aggregating companies like Uber and TaxiForSure have begun encroaching on space that autorickshaws have operated in.
While Uber has already caused widespread resentment among taxi driver unions in developed countries, the phenomenon is yet to unfold in India, which has a relatively smaller city cab market. However, the latest low cost packages such as Uber’s UberGO, Ola’s OlaMini and TaxiForSure’s 49 rupee base fare, is bound to see some protest among the unionized autorickshaw drivers in India.
As a pre-emptive move of sorts, Ola Cabs is rolling out an auto-rickshaw aggregating service on an experimental basis in Bangalore, a tech hub of the country. Technology has been a major disruptor in the taxi aggregating space across the world and this phenomenon could get a very Indian flavour if autorickshaw drivers also take to smartphone powered aggregating services in a big way. With smartphone penetration on an inexorable rise in India, this scenario appears more plausible than ever.