Uber, Ola jump on the bike-wagon, launch motorbike-hailing services

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2016 00:00 IST
Uber took the same service, UberMOTO, to Bangkok last week. (AFP Photo)

Taxi aggregators Uber and Ola launched separate motorcycle-hailing services on the same day in the same place on Thursday, as the competitors go head-to-head to target commuters in the world’s largest two-wheeler market.

Both companies have launched the projects on pilot basis. While Uber launched its UberMoto service at Rs 3 per km with a minimum fare of Rs 15, Ola is offering the same service at Rs 2 per km and a minimum fare of Rs 30. Both will be charging an additional Rs 1 per minute on the ride service. The payment options will be the same — cash, wallet and plastic cards.

Both Ola and Uber, however, said the services could be withdrawn if they didn’t meet certain success parameters.

An Ola spokesperson said the higher minimum fare was a “realistic price point.”

“We will continue to scale this service up in the coming weeks to cover more areas and serve more users,” said Pranay Jivrajka, chief operating officer, Ola.

“Enabling transportation at the push of a button, UberMOTO will help people save time and money while helping cut congestion in cities,” said Amit Jain, president, Uber India.

Both companies did not reveal the size of the network — number of bikes that offer this service.

Bike-ride service is not new in India. In fact, Bangalore itself has atleast four such service providers — Hey Bob, Pilot, Rapido and Headlyt.

Rana Vishal Singh, founder of Headlyt, puts the market size of the segment at $5 billion per annum.

But will the entry of Ola and Uber disrupt business for smaller players?

“We are worried but not too much. There is a lot of pent-up demand particularly in smaller cities, which have a fractured public transport system,” Singh said.

The gender profile of users is another issue. A survey done among city commuters in Bengaluru revealed that 8 out of 10 women commuters said they were unsure about taking a bike ride with a stranger. Both Ola and Uber, however, said they expect women customers to use the services as much as male customers.

While Ola offers its cab-hailing services in 102 cities, Uber operates in 26 cities in India.

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