Uber partners with Bajaj to launch quadricycle Qute in Bengaluru
Ride hailing company Uber has partnered with Bajaj Auto to launch UberXS, a new category of rides on its platform using quadricycles, which sit between auto rickshaws and cabs in terms of fares for commuters.
Uber launched the service in Bengaluru on Thursday, starting with 50 quadricycles that will offer rides in three prominent localities in the city. The company said it will expand UberXS to cover all of Bengaluru in the next few weeks and more cities in the coming months.
“UberXS will be a category first launched globally in India,” said Nandini Maheshwari, Head of Business Development at Uber India. “It will be priced between an Uber Auto and Uber Go and will be a great option for the residents of Bengaluru.”
Aimed at providing cheaper rides than cabs, Uber says quadricycles address a big gap that exists in India’s ride hailing market. For Bajaj, the company is hoping Uber, and ride hailing in general, will become a big user of its Qute quadricycle in the country.
Uber will onboard drivers who directly buy the vehicles from Bajaj, through its commercial vehicle dealers in the city. The company isn’t offering any special incentives to drivers for its Qute quadricycle, unlike what it did with cabs when it was rapidly expanding services between 2015 and 2017.
“This will be one of the key drivers of sales because the Uber platform is very big,” said Prashant Ahir, Deputy General Manager for Intracity Business at Bajaj Auto. “It’s going to throw up lots of opportunities for drivers, because today there’s a huge gap between a rickshaw and a taxi.”
While the quadricycles category has been accepted by several states earlier, some more clarity in terms of the regulations is required. Karnataka, the first market for UberXS, permits sale of Bajaj’s Qute quadricycle, but it hasn’t yet set any formal fare structure for the vehicle category.
The launch of quadricycles as a ride category on Uber comes at a time when fleet expansion for ride hailing players in India is at an all-time low. Thousands of driver partners have dropped off the platform after both Uber and rival Ola drastically reduced their incentives.
Uber’s Maheshwari, however, said fares have “remained very stable” on the platform for a while now and claimed that driver partners were happy.
Source: ET Tech