Uber dismisses claim that it planned to exit Indian market

NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2018 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on Aug. 8, 2018, shows the Uber and Lyft Apps on an iPhone in New York, the United States. New York City Council passed regulations on ride-hail companies such as Uber and Lyft on Wednesday, capping the number of vehicles on the road for one year and requiring that drivers be paid a minimum wage. The year-long cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles will take place while the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) studies the effects of ride-hail services in the city. The cap will not apply to new wheelchair-accessible vehicles or new vehicles serving an area demonstrating need in a way that does not increase congestion. (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS)

New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Uber on Thursday refuted a report that claimed the ride-hailing major planned to exit the Indian market and held discussions with potential buyers to sell its India business.

Bloomberg reported that the US-based company explored selling the India business, but “suspended discussions after tech startup valuations cratered.”

In a statement shared with IANS, an Uber spokesperson said the company never explored exiting India — not even for a minute — and the report is “categorically false.”

“India is as important to Uber today as it was when we launched nine years ago. We are serving riders and drivers across more than 100 cities, hiring Indian talent aggressively, and planning for the next decade and beyond,” the company spokesperson said.

Uber competes with SoftBank-backed Ola in the country.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in April that it will expand its product offerings and its team in India.

“We continue to expand the product offerings for the Indian consumer. Whether it is autos, motos or high-capacity vehicles or rentals, India has always been a very big part of the Uber journey,” he said during the Virtual i3 summit organised by Times Bridge.

Uber aims to expand its engineering talent in India to more than 1,000 people from 700 at present, he had announced.

Last month, Uber India’s Director of Central Operations, Nitish Bhushan, said that they are “always striving to make driving with Uber a viable and attractive option for drivers and the recent hike in fares will directly boost their earnings per trip”.

To remove frustration for riders and drivers alike, the company is also showing trip destinations to drivers before they decide to accept the ride.

“Drivers at the Uber advisory council meeting told us they would like more flexibility around payments. We are now showing drivers the mode of payment (cash or online) before the trip starts,” the company said.

To make the cash or online decision irrelevant, the company has also introduced a daily pay process for drivers.

With these changes, the company said that they are also reinforcing their service quality expectations with drivers, especially in areas like cancellation and ensuring AC rides.

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