Uber Goes Back For the Future In India

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By Matthew Egan, OmniChannel Media

Uber
Uber’s ride-sharing interface

In a response to cultural norms in India, Uber is set to test cash payments with its drivers in the city of Hyderabad.

The move is a first for the ride-sharing platform that is available in over 300 cities worldwide. What many will consider interesting about the announcement is that it undercuts a key aspect of its initial market disruption, removing the cashless transaction from the experience.

However for the Indian taxi market, which is traditionally high on cash, the company feels that going back to basics might just be the push it needs to gain a bigger slice of the $8billion dollar taxi industry.

Uber has positioned the move as a ‘test’ run of cash payments that could potentially be rolled out to further cities, with the company stating:

‘We have worked hard to create a cash payment option that is seamless and truly Uber. Hyderabad was the only city specifically selected for this experiment because it provides us with the right environment to test a new payment option amongst a sizeable and sophisticated rider and driver community. ‘

‘The insight we gain from your [sic] usage and feedback is what will make this a successful experiment.’

The public statement was in contrast to one of the companies local General Manager’s was much more direct about the groups move to cash in India when speaking to Reuters:

‘Tradition dictates that cash plays a big role for Indian consumers,’ said Siddharth Shanker, Uber’s general manager in Hyderabad.

Uber will hope to persuade riders and drivers alike to take advantage of the cashless system. For a country where more people have mobile phones than they do bank accounts, Uber’s credit card only option would be interpreted as a roadblock as opposed to a ‘seamless experience.’

The interesting aspect about the move is that Uber is stripping back from its own disruptive solutions.  For a market like India, this change signals that some aspects of the taxi experience, like paying in cash, were not broken.

This change is an interesting example of innovating for the sake of innovation, something that for many organisations can prove to be a costly venture. OCM.

Source: Uber; Reuters

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