Tag Archive: Uber



Ride-sharing company Uber on Friday announced the launch of its “biggest” ‘Greenlight Center’ in India in Bengaluru, aimed to serve as a one-stop solution for driver-partners’ needs.

The 15,000-square feet facility is dedicated to driver-partners in Bengaluru for best-in-class customer service and support, the company said in a release.

It said from new driver sign ups to offering subsidised services for existing driver partners, the centre acts as a one-stop solution for all their needs. The centre was launched in the presence of Dr. B Basavaraju, Karnataka Principal Secretary of Transport.

“Through the Greenlight Centre, we are offering in-person assistance to more than 4,000 driver-partners a week,” Uber South India General Manager Christian Freese said.

“We’re continuing to invest in our in-person locations and have launched three other facilities at the Devanahalli, Yeshwantpur, and HBR,” he said.

The new facility is specially designed to meet the needs of drivers, with features like: space for a team of Uber Experts, who will help new drivers get signed up and address any questions current partners have along the way.

Also, UberBazaar offers driver partners several benefits on new vehicles, vehicle maintenance, health benefits, financial planning, and many more services and dedicated training area for driver partners to learn about the app, among others, the release said.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Uber is taking further steps to ramp up the safety of women passengers in India, its largest overseas market. The ride-hailing company on Friday partnered with the Delhi Police to integrate features from the latter’s Himmat women’s safey app.

The quick access to Himmat from within Uber app will act as a “force multiplier,” the company said. Himmat app, which was launched by the Delhi Police in 2015, has over 31,000 registered users with over 90,000 downloads. It allows passengers to send a distress call to the Police Control Room and their relatives in an event of emergency. When a passenger taps the distress call option, a 30-second audio and video recording from the phone is relayed to the authority. It is the first time Delhi Police has partnered with a technology company, Uber said.

Himmat will be accessible to New Delhi residents first, but Uber said it plans to extend the reach to all women passengers in India. More than five million people take rides in Uber’s cabs in the country, the company announced this week.

“Combining access to the Himmat app through Uber is a big step towards strengthening the safety net available to lakhs of women riders. We applaud the efforts taken by the Delhi Police to prioritise safety of women and believe that the Himmat app is a great initiative in this direction,” Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head – Public Policy, Uber India & South Asia, said in a press statement.

The safety of passengers has been a concerning issue for women in both Ola and Uber cab services. The companies, however, have introduced several features and options – including a panic button in some cars – to strengthen their safety.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A Delhi court on Monday summoned as accused app-based cab service providers, including Ola and Uber, for allegedly violating permit rules.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra summoned ANI Technologies which runs Ola, Uber India Systems and Serendipity Infolabs which runs ‘Taxi For Sure’ and directed their authorised representatives to appear before it on December 11.

The court’s order came while allowing the plea of NGO, Nyayabhoomi, seeking prosecution of the three firms under various provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The court had earlier recorded pre-summoning evidence advanced by the NGO through its secretary Rakesh Agarwal, in support of the complaint, which also sought summoning of the three firms as accused.

The NGO, which filed the complaint throught advocate Sumit Kumar Modi, also sought recovery of a whopping Rs. 91,000 crores from cab service providers for allegedly not adhering to rules relating to fares and not operating by meters.

The NGO has also sought recovery of an additional penalty of Rs. 26,000 crores from the firms and jail term for them.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


EU member states can ban ride-hailing pioneer Uber without informing the European Commission because at heart it is an ordinary transport company under their jurisdiction, a top EU lawyer said Tuesday.

San Francisco-based Uber insists it is a service, not a transport provider, connecting riders with freelance drivers directly and much more cheaply than traditional cab companies.

But critics and competitors say this allows it to dodge costly regulation and several countries, led by France, have banned its low-cost UberPOP service as a result.

Uber France challenged the ban, saying it amounted to regulation of an information company which Paris should have first lodged with the Commission, the European Union’s administrative arm.

However, Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general with the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, said Uber was in fact an ordinary transport company and so member states could go ahead and regulate its activities without notifying the Commission in advance.

He recalled that in a May 11 opinion on a related case concerning Uber Spain, he had concluded that UberPOP “does not constitute an information society service.”

Szpunar also argued that even if the ECJ, the EU’s highest court, should at some stage determine UberPOP was indeed an information service provider, a ban in response to “the illegal exercise of a transport activity does not constitute a technical regulation within the meaning of the directive.”

 

“Notification of the draft law to the Commission would not be necessary in that situation either,” he said.

He argued that member states only had a duty to notify the Commission if they took a specific, targeted action against information service providers.

“Rules which affect those services only in an implicit or incidental manner are excluded from the notification obligation,” he said.

The ECJ’s advocate generals – its top lawyers – are regularly called on to provide initial guidance to the court which in most instances follows their advice in its final rulings.

The French authorities banned Uber after violent protests by traditional taxi drivers.

Uber in turn filed complaint with the EU against France and other states, arguing that national policies hostile to its operations violate European law.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Ride-hailing service Uber inaugurated a support centre in Brazil’s biggest city on Tuesday with plans to invest BRL 200 million ($62 million) and create 2,000 jobs, underscoring an aggressive growth strategy in Latin America’s biggest nation.

The new facility in Sao Paulo may employ up to 7,000 people by the end of the year, providing technical support for around 9 million users in Brazil along with thousands of drivers, the company said in a statement.

Uber’s latest investment in Brazil comes just weeks after Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, announced it was investing more than $100 million (roughly Rs. 679 crores) in Brazilian company 99, an on-demand taxi and ride-sharing service.
After a bruising battle in China, Uber agreed in August to sell its unit there to Didi, which is also investing $1 billion in San Francisco-based Uber Technologies in the deal.

Didi has also formed an alliance with Lyft in the United States, India’s ride service Ola and Southeast Asian startup Grab in an effort to compete with Uber’s global dominance.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber employees used to spy on celebrities, politicians, as well as acquaintances through the company’s tracking data, claims a new lawsuit from the company’s former staff Ward Spangenberg. This is not the first time that the ride service Uber has been accused of sharing location without the permission of the customer, and has said in the past that it will improve security. In 2014, Uber’s General Manager in New York was accused of tracking a journalist’s whereabouts through the company’s “God View” feature.

In the lawsuit, Spangenberg wrote “Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses.”

Reveal from The Centre for Investigative Reporting in a report claims that at least five former Uber security employees said the company “continued to allow broad access” even after assurances that it had strict policies in place to prevent customer trip data from being accessed, with “limited exceptions.”
Spangenberg in his lawsuit has also alleged that Uber routinely deleted files which it was required to keep. “Uber routinely deleted files which were subject to litigation holds, which was another practice I objected to when reporting my concerns to the company.”

Sharing his experience when working for Uber, Spangenberg added, “As part of Uber’s Incident Response Team, I would be called when governmental agencies raided Uber’s offices due to concerns regarding noncompliance with governmental regulations. In those instances, Uber would lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity so that law enforcement could not access Uber’s information. I would then be tasked with purchasing all new equipment for the office within the day, which I did when Uber’s Montreal office was raided.”

Uber in a statement however has assured that it maintains security check of user location data. The company also acknowledged that it fired “fewer than 10” employees for “improper access” of data.

“We have hundreds of security and privacy experts working around the clock to protect our data. This includes enforcing strict policies and technical controls to limit access to user data to authorized employees solely for purposes of their job responsibilities, and all potential violations are quickly and thoroughly investigated,” Uber said in a statement.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber will seek to convince Europe’s top court next week that it is a digital service, not a transport company, in a case that could determine whether app-based startups should be exempt from strict laws meant for regular companies.

The European Commission is trying to boost e-commerce, a sector where the EU lags behind Asia and the United States, to drive economic growth and create jobs.

The US taxi app, which launched in Europe five years ago, has faced fierce opposition from regular taxi companies and some local authorities, who fear it creates unfair competition because it is not bound by strict local licensing and safety rules.

Supporters however say rigid regulatory obligations protect incumbents and hinder the entry of digital startups which offer looser work arrangements to workers in the 28-country European Union looking for more flexibility, albeit without basic rights.

Uber found itself in the dock after Barcelona’s main taxi operator alleged in 2014 that it was running an illegal taxi service. The case concerns its UberPOP service which the company halted after the lawsuit.

Uber says it is a digital platform that connects willing drivers with customers and not a transport service.
The Spanish judge subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice.
A ruling characterising Uber as a transport service could expose it to stricter rules on licensing, insurance and safety, with possible knock-on effects on other startups such as online home rental company Airbnb.

The case has drawn global interest. The Netherlands, where Uber has its European headquarters, Finland, Poland, Greece and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have submitted written observations that tend to support Uber.

Spain, France and Ireland in their submissions however say Uber is a transport service. A grand chamber of 15 judges will hear the arguments, with more than 200 participants signed up for the hearing.

The case is Case C-434/15 Asociacion Profesional Elite Taxi.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber on Thursday announced the availability of a new feature in India. Called Schedule a Ride, it allows users the convenience of booking an UberX or UberGo ride from 15 minutes to up to 30 days in advance.


In an emailed statement, the ride-hailing app said the Schedule a Ride feature is now available across over 20 cities in India. Uber added that the feature was one of the top-requested services across the world.
Amit Jain, President, Uber India, in a statement explained the rationale of bringing the Schedule a Ride feature to the country, “Uber’s objective to offer accessible and reliable rides goes a notch further with the introduction of ‘Schedule a Ride’ feature. Riders can use this feature to book a ride from 15 mins to 30 days in advance. For our driver-partners, it minimises idle time and for riders it is an additional comfort of knowing your Uber will be there when it’s time to head out.”
Talking about how the feature relates to the Uber for Business (U4B) ride management platform, the company in its statement added, “With the launch of ‘schedule a ride’ our Uber for Business customers now have the choice to plan every aspect of their business travel well in advance.”
To use the feature on the Uber app, select either UberGo or UberX, then tap Schedule a Ride. You will then be presented with the option to set a pickup date, time, location, and destination. Once you cross check these details are correct, then press the Schedule UberX or Schedule UberGo button.
From this point, you can choose to cancel the ride at any point before the ride is on its way to you. Uber specifies its standard cancellation policy applies to Scheduled Rides as well. Uber says it will send you reminders both 24 hours and 30 minutes in advance of your pickup. You’ll also be notified after your ride is on the way, as well as whether dynamic pricing applies.
Uber recently gained attention in the country when it introduced two new India-specific features – Request a Ride for Others, and Dial an Uber.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem have suspended services in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, since Saturday and do not know when they can resume operations, they said on Sunday.

The National, a UAE newspaper, quoted unnamed sources as saying that as many as 50 drivers for Uber and Careem had been arrested.

An Abu Dhabi source familiar with the situation told Reuters some drivers had been detained over violations of regulations, but did not specify how many drivers or describe the violations.

“This is a temporary suspension and we will let you know of any further updates,” an Uber spokesman in Dubai said via email. He did not respond to questions about the arrests or the reason for the suspension of services.

Christian Eid, vice-president of marketing and communications for Careem, a Dubai-based company, said many of its drivers were being stopped by authorities in Abu Dhabi, apparently over licensing issues, and as a result had become nervous and were staying off the roads. This had forced Careem to halt services there, he said.

The Abu Dhabi government’s Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars, which manages the taxi and transport sector, did not respond to queries. The centre oversees about seven taxi operators and 18 limousine operators, some of which are partly government-owned. Abu Dhabi police did not respond to requests for comment.
Uber and Careem said they had not suspended operations in neighbouring Dubai, the commercial and tourist hub of the UAE. The emirate of Abu Dhabi has a population of about 2.8 million and Dubai has roughly 2.5 million.

Uber, which launched services in Abu Dhabi in 2013, said last year that the Middle East and North Africa contained some of its fastest-growing markets and that it planned to invest $250 million to expand in the region.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A little over a year ago, Ola acquired rival TaxiForSure in a $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,240 crores) deal that saw the two services merge. Soon after that, you were able to book TaxiForSure cars via the Ola app, but now Ola is now shutting down TaxiForSure as a separate offering, and integrating its fleet. The company has confirmed the development via a statement to Gadgets 360 that also admits that some employees will be laid off.

The number of people being laid off could be between 700 and 1000, depending upon various reports, part of a growing trend in India’s digital economy as companies that were able to spend lavishly without worrying about the bottom line, are now being pressed to show profits.

In the case of Ola, it’s been fighting against Uber in India and a recent development might have changed the terms of this engagement. In December 2015, Ola reached an agreement with Chinese giant Didi Chuxing (then Didi Kuaidi) to be part of a global alliance with Lyft and GrabTaxi, to check Uber’s international growth.

This was a big challenge for Uber, and one that tied up a lot of its funds – as late as June, Uber executives were talking about surpassing Didi in 2017. However, Didi’s big advantage in China was in the regulatory space – it’s believed to be one of the reasons behind Apple investing $1 billion in Didi Chuxing – and eventually, Uber decided to merge its China operations with its rival. Uber has taken a 20 percent stake in the combined firm, and by “shedding its massive losses” in the country, Uber can now focus more on India.

As a result, Ola likely has to streamline its operations in order to remain competitive with Uber, as the battle heats up.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)