New Delhi: Uber Technologies Inc. wants to launch ride-hailing services for buses and mini-vans under a new service named Uber Everything, as it continues to step on the pedal in India.
“The next big innovation that the company plans to introduce is Uber Pool in buses and mini-vans,” said a person directly familiar with the Indian plans of the world’s most valuable start-up.
A spokesperson for Uber’s Indian operations did not respond to an email seeking comment.
India, added the person who asked not to be identified, has become more important to Uber after the company merged its Chinese operations with that of local rival Didi Chuxing Technology Co.
India poses diverse “mobility challenges”, this person said, and “will drive Uber’s innovations” on account of that.
Uber has experimented with new services in the mobility space in the past. The most popular of these is UberHop, which functions pretty much like a scheduled bus service.
The company has piloted this in several markets.
The few details that are known of the service Uber wants to try out in India suggest it will be similar. UberHop offers scheduled services with designated pick-up and drop-off points for a flat fee.
The pooled ride-sharing service for buses will start life as a pilot and be overseen by Uber’s India technical centre in Bangalore.
Like its ride-sharing taxi service, the move is likely to pose a challenge for local administrations that currently regulate both private and state-owned bus services that offer rides within cities.
A second person familiar with Uber’s plans in India said the bus service is part of the ride-sharing company’s global initiative, also called Uber Everything, which aims to offer rides on anything that ferries people from Point A to Point B.
While Uber will continue to subsidize every ride it offers commuters in India, the larger focus is on customization of product offerings and technologies in India. These will then be evaluated to determine if they can be used in other Uber markets.