Travis Kalanick is keeping himself busy on his India visit. On his Mumbai stop he’d attended an Uber all-hands meeting, and had also taken time out to meet Sachin Tendulkar. Now Kalanick is in Hyderabad, and looking dapper in a white and red shawl, he’s launched UberMotos in the city in the presence of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.
In Hyderabad launching innovative UberMotos – less traffic, less pollution w/ chief minister & IT minister @KTRTRS pic.twitter.com/sX1sQzjMqM
— travis kalanick (@travisk) December 13, 2016
UberMoto will offer fares as low as Rs 20 for the first 3 kms and Rs 5 per km thereafter.
However KCR’s presence at the launch is crucial, because Uber’s UberMoto efforts have been hamstrung by government regulations in other states. Uber and Ola had launched the service on the very same day in Bangalore, but after a promising start, had seen their bikes being impounded by the traffic police – existing Karnataka law didn’t allow for two wheelers to run as taxis. Ola had immediately shut shop, but Uber had persisted, not charging commission on UberMoto rides and promoting it as a bike pool service. The government had finally prevailed, and both Ola and Uber have withdrawn their bike services from the city.
In Gurgaon too, there had been opposition to the introduction of the services when they were launched, mainly over the yellow license plates the bikes would need to carry to be able to take riders.
But the Chief Minister’s presence in inaugurating UberMoto in Hyderabad probably sidesteps all these issues for Uber. KCR is known to be a progressive Chief Minister, and has been promoting startups and entrepreneurship in his state, mainly through the government incubator T Hub. His blessings will ensure that UberMoto Hyderabad will be able to run without a hitch. And given the traffic snarls and pollution in the city, this can only be a good thing.