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TMCNet:  Uber plans pan-India luxury taxi service [India Business] [Times of India]

[December 07, 2013]

Uber plans pan-India luxury taxi service [India Business] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: Google-funded transportation network startup Uber Technology, which lets you call for a luxury car with a few clicks of your smartphone, is set to roll out its services across the country after launching in Bangalore and New Delhi.

On the anvil are on-demand services that can range from puppies-on-demand to delicious golgappas for customers. The San Francisco-based tech firm, present in 60 cities across the world, is keen to tap into India's taxi market and according to Allen Penn, head of Asia operations at Uber, marketing stunts will form a big part of its India strategy.

For instance, in Taipei, Uber launched its puppy-delivery service that allowed users to call for puppies to be delivered to a specific location. Playtime lasted 15 minutes and the fees (Rs 700) were donated to Taiwan Life Caring and Animal Rescue organization. "Different markets demand different tactics and we are evaluating what works for Indian cities. As part of our marketing strategy, we will also tie up with various lifestyle partners," Penn told TOI.

Currently, in India, Uber offers only luxury cars from brands like Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Toyota. However, in the near future it might launch services with different car sizes. In Paris, Uber offers motorcycle taxis too.

Uber's pricing strategy has made other car rental companies sit up and take notice. For a ride on the regular Meru cab in Bangalore, the customer pays Rs 80 for the first 4 km, and then Rs 19.5 for every kilometer after that. For a trip on Uber's Mercedes E220 or Audi A6, the customer pays a base fare of Rs 80, an additional Rs 18 per km, and Rs 2 per minute. In other words, the only major charge that Uber has over and above Meru's is the per-minute charge. A one-hour drive would add an extra Rs 120 to the fare.

In the US, drivers who signed up for Uber were able to get discounted financing on cars made by Toyota and General Motors.

(With inputs from Shilpa Phadnis) (c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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