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Uber arrives in Sri Lanka

| Car News, Sri Lanka, Transportation Alternatives | October 22, 2015

Uber arrives in Sri Lanka

Uber, a global ride sharing company in over 340 cities in 60 countries, launched in Sri Lanka.

Uber started in 2009 by Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick as a startup and by 2015 their little startup became $50bn worth giant operating in 60 countries across the world. This is the startup that became the world’s largest taxi company in just 4 short years, without owning a single vehicle.

Senior Launcher at Uber, Varun is the man responsible for taking Uber into new markets, who bought it to Sri Lanka. “There was never any doubt to ever come to Sri Lanka. Uber’s vision is to go into every city in the world. It’s just a matter a time and how quickly we can achieve that vision” Says Varun Mundkur.

He further started that, “At Uber, every city that we launch outperforms its predecessor and we expect nothing less from Colombo. In fact, for months now, we know that demand for Uber has been rapidly growing as more and more people and visitors are opening up the Uber app and trying to request rides in cities across Sri Lanka,”

“With over 1 million credit cards and 11 million debit cards in Sri Lanka and over 20 percent of the population on smartphones, Sri Lanka is poised for Uber,” the San Francisco-based company said.

“We bring our global technology, expertise and best practices in the on-demand mobility space, coupled with the hyperlocal knowledge of the local operations team in the city,”

Uber is a mobile app that connects people who needs a ride, to a private chauffeur service, to get around on-demand. The trip fare is calculated using GPS data via satellite, which is then forwarded to Uber’s servers for billing and immediate receipt generation. At the end of the trip, the customer simply alights from the vehicle and goes on their way. The trip fare is billed automatically to the customer’s credit card and a receipt with journey details is emailed immediately after.

How to get a Uber cab
As of this moment, the Uber fleet in Colombo is active and operational. All you need to do is simply download the Uber app and sign up with your basic details and a credit/debit card.

Our options and how much they cost
Currently, Uber has five options you can choose to get you from point A to point B. These options are:

  • UberX – The budget uber cab
  • UberTaxi – The normal taxi
  • UberBLACK – The original Uber cab
  • UberSUV – The SUV with enough space to fit 6 people at any given time
  • UberLUX – The luxury option for those who only want the finest cars

However, the availability of these options and their prices varies from each city. Yes, not by country but by the city! For example, if you look in India the prices of Uber cabs in Bangalore and totally different from those in Mumbai.

According to Varun, the testing phase will only see UberX cabs being available. During this testing phase, the base price of an UberX cab will be Rs. 100. On top of the base price, you will be charged for the distance you travel which is Rs. 50 per kilometer. You will also be charged the time taken to get to your destination which is Rs. 2 per minute.

Therefore final fare of an UberX cab = Base price + Rs. 50 per kilometer + Rs. 2 per minute traveled

Interestingly, there are no waiting charges that you need to pay when you ride in a Uber cab. This is because Uber cabs won’t wait for you! From what Varun told us, the basic concept of Uber is to get you from Point A to Point B. If you need to go to another place soon after, then you’ll need to request a new cab.

Needless to say, Uber has implemented a weird pricing model. Whether this means cheaper trips around Colombo, especially during rush hour, is something we can only figure out after testing.

The fleet and its drivers

At the time of writing, the Uber fleet in Sri Lanka has an undisclosed number of the following vehicles:

  • Toyota Allion
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Axio
  • Nissan Bluebird
  • Honda City
  • Mitsubishi Lancer

During the testing phase, the fleet will only operate inside the Colombo city limits and trips to the airport. After the official launch, we might see different vehicles join the Uber fleet. However, one thing will remain the same: Uber will not own any of these vehicles or employ any of it’s drivers.

During the testing phase, the fleet will only operate inside the Colombo city limits and trips to the airport. After the official launch, we might see different vehicles join the Uber fleet. However, one thing will remain the same: Uber will not own any of these vehicles or employ any of it’s drivers.

As the company says, Uber is a technology company that provides a platform to connect taxi drivers and taxi companies with customers. It’s simply the middleman. However, this middleman has some strict requirements. Uber requires that all its drivers:

  • have a valid driver’s license;
  • have a valid registration for their vehicle;
  • have commercial insurance covering the driver + 4 passengers;
  • have a national identity card
  • have a valid revenue certificate

If you have the above-listed documents and working vehicle, then you are qualified to drive for Uber.To register as driver simply head over here and fill out the necessary details. Afterward, you’ll have to face an interview and a short training session on how to use the partner app before you can be qualified to use Uber as a driver.

As a driver on Uber, you’ll always get the hires closest to your current location. With each hire, Uber has an undisclosed service charge that will be deducted from the fare. However, due to the cashless nature of Uber, you can only get your earnings from rides at the end of the week.

(Source: LBO Sri Lanka and Readme.lk)