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Cab aggregator Uber is currently working on cross-section mobility solutions for highly populated and congested cities in the country. The cross-section or cross-platform solutions include e-rickshaws at one end, and helicopter rides at the other.
Localization in the country is being handled by Mr Manik Gupta, the Chief Product Officer — Global — at Uber. Mr Gupta has led the global products team for Google Maps in the past, and feels that the ‘Indian connection' helps with any complexities that come up.
Uber has been slowly expanding its operations, and its network in India, and company's goal is to research, develop, and offer practical and affordable ways to make a commute better.
While Uber has long-term plans to operate heli-taxis in India, it currently operates them in New York. The route connects Lower Manhattan and JFK International. The company does not plan to the heli-taxi service outside of New York at the moment.
Mr Gupta said the company has been introducing new mobility solutions at a steady pace. The first addition was the infamous auto rickshaw, and the second addition was the bike-taxis. The company feels there is a need for low-cost solutions that offer the right price points.
The company feels that car penetration in India remains as low as 22 per 1000. That means 22 folk in 1000 own cars. Uber is focused on proving all of the population with the best mobility options.
Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi feels that the demand is shifting from ownership to services. He feels that next big trend will be not just ownership of cars, but also the freedom to have multi-mobility options.
The CEO also added that the company was researching mass-transport solution like buses. They are researching feasibility of such service at Delhi, and will expand operations to other cities one they are ready.
Thoughts About Uber's Multi-Mobility Solution
While the idea is impressive, pulling this off might be a task in the country. Uber will need to double their budget in order to accommodate bribes, at least for the heli-taxi service. As far as the bus services in Delhi are concerned, they've got heavy competition from a certain Arvind Kejriwal — the man has begun flagging off a massive 100 buses every month.