Dhaka has become a jungle of vehicles. The greater Dhaka area has a population of over 18 million as of 2016, while the city itself has a population estimated at about 8.5 million.
Only a small portion of them can afford a private transport. Most of the people depend on bus, taxi cab, and CNG auto rickshaw for their everyday movements. Bus is cheap but it is not convenient for all especially for women, taxi cab is always expensive, and CNG auto rickshaws are often reluctant to travel to any location. As a result, unfair charge, abusive behaviour, and irritating waiting for a vehicle generate extra pain for city travellers.
When people are trying to cope with the existing transport system, Uber has been launched in Dhaka with a promise to change the concept of city travel by offering comfortable, safe, and cost-effective transport service to the masses. Uber is a transport network company founded in San Francisco, California in 2009. Now it operates in 450+ cities in 74 countries. Initially, it utilised licensed taxi drivers for its ridesharing services. In recent years the business has introduced non-taxi rideshare services into its business model.
Uber runs by smartphone app. To enjoy this service you first need to install the app on your smartphone and create an online Uber account. When you need a ride, use the app to tell Uber your pickup location. There is a mobile website alternative to the app for those who without smartphones. Uber will tell you when the car will arrive and both cash and card payment facilities are available for users.
Uber offers cheaper rates compared to traditional taxi cabs. It fuels the growth of Uber not only in Dhaka but also in other cities around the world. While the rates vary with the city and the time of day, there is substantial public data that shows UberX ridesharing can be 25% to 50% cheaper than taking a local taxi cab.
Uber is a problem solver for riders as the service provides a ride for those individuals who need taxi cab services at reasonable prices. Uber has de-monopolised the taxi cab service and reinvented it in every way. Uber is also fixing up the structure of the taxicab industry and making the industry more reputable. It is doing this by providing rides that are clean, offering up quality customer experiences, and accepting different forms of payments.
Uber ensures safety for riders and drivers in new and innovative ways—before, during, and after every ride.
When a driver accepts a request, his or her first name, photo, license plate number, and rating will be shown to the person being picked up. In addition, the driver can see the first name and average ratings of the passenger. Drivers and riders can contact each other through the app if there is any confusion around pick-up details. When riders enter their destination into their app, they can see their route live on a map in the app so they always know where they are and if they are on the right route.
Uber promises zero tolerance policy towards any abusive behaviour on its platform. In addition, the company is equally conscious about recruiting driver partners with valid documents and go through a mandatory soft skill training that enables them to offer riders a great experience.
Riders can easily share their ride details, including the specific route and estimated time of arrival, with friends or family for extra peace of mind. They’ll receive a link where they can see in real time the name and photo of the driver, the vehicle, and the trip route live on the map until the final destination is reached — and they can do all of this without having to download the Uber app themselves.
Uber is constantly working with driver partners to improve expected time of arrivals (ETAs). It is very essential to minimise the waiting time to get a car which also has a great impact on both rider’s and driver’s confidence.
Globally, Uber offers five tiers of service such as UberX, UberPOOL, UberXL, UberSelect, and UberBLACK. UberX is the most affordable and common form that can accommodate up to 4 riders. UberPOOL, available in some cities, allows you to share your ride with another person and share the cost. UberXL is more expensive than UberX and can carry 6 passengers with an SUV or minivan. UberSelect offers luxury sedans with leather interior, including brands such as Audi, Mercedes, BMW etc. UberBLACK includes luxury limousine and it is dedicated to provide executive-level services.
Uber is trying to develop its future business based on self-driving car. It is a worthwhile step from the company as more automakers produce their own autonomous vehicles. Rides without driver would also increase the company’s profits: Self-driving cars give Uber 100 per cent of the fare, the company would no longer have to subsidise driver pay and the cars can run nearly 24 hours a day.
Traffic situation in Dhaka City has become unbearable nowadays. Quality service at affordable cost is indispensable to discourage personal car purchase, which is responsible for complex road congestion. Uber can ease road condition by sharing exiting resources. No doubt this type of approach will not only save time but will also increase productivity of our people.
The Writer is the CEO of NeoSTAR Innovation