Uber looking to roll out bus seat booking facility in Sri Lanka

Shiva Shailendran, Director

By Sanath Nanayakkare

Uber which is a platform that opens up the world to new transportation possibilities through its ride-hailing app is looking to enable Sri Lankan commuters to book a bus seat using the Uber app, Shiva Shailendran, Director Operations, Uber India and South Asia told The Island Financial Review.

“The expectation is to open a completely new addressable segment for Uber, so that we can serve the common man in a holistic way,” he said.

“We launched the first of its kind partnership in India recently where we are working with the Indian government’s Transportation Department to enable citizens to book rides from public transportation. We are piloting it in Delhi and will expand it to other cities in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prabhjeet Singh, President, Uber India and South Asia told The Hindu recently that the project which is at pilot stage in Delhi would be made available by the end of the year with the rollout across multiple cities planned for 2023.

According to Uber India, the pilot is operating in the Delhi-Gurugram route with Gurugram Municipal Authority for public transport users, some corporates for employee transportation and some fleet owners, wherein a commuter could book directly.

Prabhjeet Singh said that the experiment with high-capacity vehicles had started recently and the entire technology was being developed in India.

“We are trying to address the main concerns of bus commuters which is confidence in getting a seat, ETA (estimated time of arrival) projection, tracking and even the comfort of travelling in an air-conditioned vehicle. We also discovered the technology that can help in dynamic routing based on supply and demand rather than a bus running on a fixed route. We took the elements of pre-booking, dynamic routing, tracking experience and brought it together for high-capacity vehicles. The eventual game is to be able to take it to multiple cities and serve a much larger segment of the population. I want to serve the next 100 million consumers. This will take us three to five years to be able to keep scaling and take to the length and breadth of India,” Singh said.

Shiva Shailendran told The Island Financial review that Uber is looking to offer a similar service here in Sri Lanka too. “We will continue to work with the Sri Lankan regulators to determine what would be the right time to launch this product, “he said.

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