Ridesharing giant Uber has announced to launch UberPool, a new service that will be instrumental in decongesting Dhaka traffic.
The company made the announcement this morning, on the occasion of its third anniversary in Dhaka, read a press release.
UberPool has been designed to bring more affordable ridesharing solutions and also to lower traffic congestion in the city.
Using UberPool, as many as four users will be able to share a ride and the cost of the trip. This service will be available to passengers travelling to the same route.
This way, fewer cars will be used to transport more people at a lower cost.
Ratul Ghosh, head of Uber in Bangladesh and East India, said the new service will ensure that users can save up to 40 percent of the solo trip cost.
He was talking at the anniversary and product launching programme of Uber held this morning at a Dhaka hotel.
Users from around 350 cities worldwide are using UberPool and are happy about the service, Ratul also said.
Uber officials said cities using UberPool services are witnessing reduced stress on traffic loads in peak hours and Bangladesh badly needs it.
But, unlike UberX, UberPool will not pick up a user from the doorstep. But, it will select a pickup point nearby and all the callers will gather at the point to get in the car.
Beginning with cars, Uber has gradually added two-wheeler based ride-sharing service Uber Moto.
Uber is trying to introduce new things to make life easier.
Because of the market nature, Bangladesh is a significant launch pad for Uber innovations, said Ratul.
Due to the congested traffic of Dhaka, Bangladesh is already one of the most served markets of Uber Moto, the two-wheeler based ride-sharing service of Uber.
Uber X and Uber Premier have also gained popularity, exceeding the company's pre-launch expectation.
Except for Dhaka, Uber is already in the port-city Chattogram, tourism-city Cox's Bazar and Sylhet city.
The company is assessing all other large cities of the country for launching its services. But before that, Uber needs to be sure that there will be sufficient drivers and passengers for the best customer experience.
Like all other ridesharing companies in Bangladesh, Uber is yet to get permission for doing business under the local transportation authority-formulated ridesharing regulations.
Uber has a long way to go in Bangladesh, believe critiques, in terms of drivers and passengers' security and best integration with local law enforcement agencies.
Transportation authority of London is now not allowing Uber to run its services on the ground of not ensuring security standards during a ride.
In Bangladesh, many customers complain that after some unwanted incidents, they found it hard to reach Uber support team and in many cases, their complaints were not redressed.
However, Ratul said, "Uber as a tech-based company has designed its customer feedback and responses through its app and web-based platform. We are investing more and more to sensitise the stakeholders about the existing safety options in the app, which are sufficient to get an instant response from the Uber support team."
In case of a criminal incident, Uber cooperates with local law enforcement agencies by providing all the system records to help investigators.
But Uber also has its global policy of maintaining the privacy of its customers – both drivers and riders.
Pick hour fares for Uber rides often surpass that of locally registered taxis and it is a violation of the ridesharing regulations of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
"Surge and discounts in fare is a dynamic pricing model of Uber across the globe. It is designed to match real-time demand with supply," said Ratul while responding to the reporters' query.
During pick hours or traffic congestions, a driver cannot get enough trips but the demand remains high and the opposite, said the Uber country head.
Dynamic pricing ensures a balance and makes the service available on time, he said.
"Uber is compliant in each of the countries it operates and in this regard too it will have to be," Ratul told The Business Standard.
"But regulations also have a chance to adopt dynamic things," he pointed out.
Uber, the largest ridesharing company in the world, started its journey in Bangladesh in November 2016.