UberTaxi focused on improving cab utilisation

UberTaxi focused on improving cab utilisation

From left, Brooks Entwistle of Uber Asia-Pacific, Siripa Jungsawat of Uber Thailand, and Hudsadin Eamsherangku of Howa International promote the new service.
From left, Brooks Entwistle of Uber Asia-Pacific, Siripa Jungsawat of Uber Thailand, and Hudsadin Eamsherangku of Howa International promote the new service.

Riders will have more alternatives for ride-hailing with the launch of UberTaxi, a legal cab partnership between Uber Thailand and Howa International, the operator of Suvarnabhumi Taxi Cooperative.

Collaboration with local partners is important for Uber in every country, and Asia-Pacific is an extremely important region for Uber, said Brooks Entwistle, chief business officer of Uber Asia-Pacific.

He said Bangkok has historical traffic challenges and the government has done a great job in solving congestion.

"We are focused on working with the regulator to get the rights for ride-sharing service over time," Mr Entwistle said.

Uber operates in over 600 cities in 78 countries, with 2 million driver partners and 5 million trips worldwide.

In Thailand, the company has operated for more than three years in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattaya, Chon Buri and Khon Kaen.

In Bangkok, there are some 86,000 registered taxis, but utilisation is less than 50%. Uber's technology allows drivers to connect with passengers more efficiently, with drivers spending less time circling or waiting in ranks and more time with riders.

Siripa Jungsawat, general manager of Uber Thailand, said Uber's technology prioritises the safety of both riders and driver partners. Both parties can see each other's information before the ride.

UberTaxi fares are calculated similarly to meter pricing, with passengers required to pay for the ride based on the application's calculations, Ms Siripa said. The service fee fluctuates with demand and availability and is included in the fare as well.

"With the mobile app, riders can see a fare estimation before making a request and view the final fare at the end of the journey," she said, adding the fare can be paid by cash or credit card.

Hudsadin Eamsherangkul, deputy managing director of Howa International and chairman of the Suvarnabhumi Taxi Cooperative committee, said the cooperative has 5,000 driver members with 4,000 taxis and last year they made more than 22 million trips.

Most of the cooperative's members are willing to join with UberTaxi, he said, as they have the same objectives as taxi services: safety, convenience and speed.

Uber technology has created the opportunity for drivers to get passengers through a new channel and increase utilisation rates.

"This technology will result in good driver earnings and a better quality of life for our drivers," Mr Hudsadin said.

He said the system is fair for passengers because they can see the fare on the app before riding.

Thailand is the seventh territory in the region to adopt Uber's new taxi partnership, following Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Cambodia and Singapore.

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