KOCHI: Uber, the car-service provider, started its operations in Kochi on Monday, making it their 11th city in the country.
The service allows users to make payments only through mobile phone application. “We started operations with a dozen of cars signing up with Uber, said Neeraj Sinbhal, head of India expansion of the San Francisco-headquartered company.
Uber uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle’s location. Under Uber’s unique service, the driver partners are provided a mobile with a built-in smartphone application. The company will tie-up with independent tourist operators (commercial independent tourist operators, tourist taxi permits and professional chauffeur permits) who will provide the services. “Ours is an on demand transportation,” said Singhal. Added Uber’s blog: “In a multi-faceted city like Kochi where transportation alternatives are few and far between, Uber is truly everyone’s private driver - bringing its hassle-free, safe, reliable, and affordable transport to every local and tourist in town.”
It said the burgeoning tech community jumped on for the service with Sony Joy, co-founder at MobME and CEO at Chillr, earning that coveted ‘Rider Zero’ spot. “He pulled out his smartphone, fired open the app and had an Uber pick him up within minutes to whizz to MobME’s headquarters at Kacheripady,” the company said.
During its initial phase, only limited cars will be available; expect longer ETAs (estimated time for arrival) than usual. “We are working hard to add cars and deliver the ultimate Uber experience in Kochi,” the company said.
Uber’s service is also available in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, yderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pune, Chandigarh and Kolkata. Singhal said the company would launch the service in other cities in Kerala after becoming fully operational in Kochi.
Uber’a arrival heats up the car-service industry in the city. Recently, Taxio became Kerala’s first radio taxi provider.