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After Kolkata, Uber bus service enters Delhi

Delhi becomes the first state to award a licence for bus operations and Uber becomes the first aggregator to be granted a licence under the Delhi Premium Bus scheme.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 22:25 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 22:25 IST

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Bengaluru: Ride-hailing app Uber has secured an aggregator license from the Delhi Transport Department to operate buses under the Delhi Premium Buses Scheme, the company said in a statement on Monday.

By opting for the ‘Uber Shuttle’ option on the app, commuters in Delhi will be able to pre-book seats on their preferred route, up to a week in advance, besides making cashless payments, tracking the live location of buses, and viewing their expected time of arrival.

“Following a successful pilot programme, where we witnessed significant demand for buses, we are thrilled to officially introduce the convenience of Uber rides to buses in Delhi,” Uber Shuttle India head Amit Deshpande said.

A similar service has been operational in Kolkata since last year, under a memorandum of understanding signed with the West Bengal government. Globally, Uber currently offers the shuttle service in Brazil and Egypt.

“The Government of Delhi stays committed to improving public transport services and diversifying available transportation options to streamline commuting for Delhiites,” an official from the Transport Department, Government of Delhi, said.

Under the Delhi Motor Vehicles Licensing of Aggregator (Premium Buses) Scheme, 2023, private bus operators can operate app-based air-conditioned luxury public service vehicles having a seating capacity of more than 12 passengers, along with various facilities such as Wi-Fi, GPS, CCTV, panic buttons and 2x2 reclining seats.

“The introduction of Uber’s bus services, if scaled successfully, will likely increase competition among existing bus operators, pushing them to enhance their services to retain customers,” said Suraj Ghosh, vice president at technology start-up Minus Zero, adding that it may also compel traditional operators to adopt similar technological advancements to stay competitive.

Each shuttle vehicle will be able to accommodate between 19 to 50 passengers and will be operated by local fleet partners utilising Uber’s technology, the company said in its statement.

As per sectoral experts, the profitability for Uber in this segment will depend on factors such as operational efficiency, fare pricing and passenger uptake.

“The service could take around 6-12 months to gain significant traction among commuters, depending on factors like marketing efforts, user adoption rates, and integration with existing public transport networks,” Ghosh underscored. He, however, does not foresee a meaningful impact in terms of market share and profitability before 12-24 months, as the service matures and optimises its operations.

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Published 20 May 2024, 12:54 IST

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