Uber on Monday announced the launch UberHIRE, a time-based on-demand cab service that lets you hop around the city in the same car. The cab aggregator said the new service would be ideal for travellers exploring a city, senior citizens or business travellers who have to make multiple stops, besides being an economical option for everyone.
After the pilot run in Kochi, the service will now be available across Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Vizag, Nagpur and Ahmedabad. To begin with, UberHIRE will accept only cash payments.
In their blog Uber states:
When we set out, Uber was designed to be an efficient and affordable way to get from point A to point B, almost anywhere in the world. Yet, India isn’t just anywhere in the world – it’s a world in itself, with a culture that is unique and diverse. Think festival shopping, family get-togethers, big fat weddings or back-to-back business meetings, we are always on the go.
That’s why riders have always asked us if they could hold onto their Ubers while they are out and about — and that’s why we’re launching UberHIRE: an Uber that takes care of all your travel needs for the day.
Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India said in the statement:
"We are always thinking of ways to enhance the Uber experience. Our technology makes it possible for us to create specialised solutions that can help users have access to reliable transportation at affordable prices. UberHIRE is one such product that addresses the unique commuting needs of riders in India, especially that of tourists, business travellers, senior citizens, and working professionals by letting them book an Uber and use it for up to 12 hours.”
UberHIRE is in direct competition to Ola’s Rentals, which was launched last year. Ola Rentals comes with three different packages and across a wider range of categories of Mini, Prime, SUV, LUX. The two-hours-30-km fee for Mini is Rs 499, for Prime Sedan Rs 599, for Prime SUV Rs 799, for Lux Rs 1,999 and for Prime Play it is Rs 599.
The 4-hours-40-km fee for Prime Sedan is Rs 900, for Prime SUV Rs 1,100, for Lux Rs 3,749, and for Prime Play Rs 900. The 8-hours-40 km fees for Mini is Rs 1,500, for Prime Sedan Rs 1,700, for Prime SUV Rs 2,000, for Lux Rs 699 and for Prime Play Rs 1,700.
UberHIRE has a minimum fare of Rs 549 for two hours and cancellation charge is fixed at Rs 100. Charges for every extra km is Rs 13. It is interesting to note that Uber has entered a unique hire or rental category in India. Their competitor, Ola, has already achieved market leadership and claims to have overall 60 percent of the market share.
Also, the timing of this launch is very close to the current market scenario in Bengaluru, where the legalities of Ola Share and Uber Pool are being questioned. It could be taken as a move by the cab aggregator to aggressively push and take a chunk of Ola’s marketshare.
Uber has been aggressively launching newer products in India since the beginning of this year. The year began with Uber wooing Niti Ayog’s Amitabh Kant and launching the otherwise banned uberMOTO in Hyderabad. Uber also announced that it will be soon launching UberEATS in India, after having launched this service in global markets. Ola tried the same with Ola Café and burnt their fingers.
Also, the year has been like a roller-coaster for Ola. The began the year by seeking a level playing field against Uber saying capital dumping by the aggregator was the real reason behind the perception of better quality. Also if you look at the UberHIRE prices, they seem relatively cheaper priced and follow a flat rate system.