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Here is What Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Feels About Ola, Women Safety And More

Travis Kalanick had a discussion with Amitabh Kant about the future of Uber in India.
(Image: News18.com/ Sarthak Dogra)

Travis Kalanick had a discussion with Amitabh Kant about the future of Uber in India. (Image: News18.com/ Sarthak Dogra)

Travis opened up with a few stats that showed why Uber might just be the future of transport across the globe. As per the stats, Cars owned by people across the globe are stationary for 96% of a day’s time and yet acquire over 20% of the land in the city.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was recently in Delhi for an event named ‘UberDialogue’ wherein the CEO of the popular ride hailing company had an in-depth discussion with Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Ayog, about the future of Uber in India.

Then Travis opened up with a few stats that showed why Uber might just be the future of commutation across the globe. As per the stats, Cars owned by people across the globe are stationary for 96 percent of a day’s time and yet acquire over 20 percent of the land in the city.

Amitabh questioned Travis on his strategies to disrupt the Indian market. Travis kept the answer very simple and straightforward by saying that if you bring innovation into a market, the market is bound to accept your place.

Also read: Uber Launches SwitchToPool Campaign in Six Cities, Aims to Promote Carpool

Here is what Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had to say:

About rules and regulations

On Amitabh’s questioning of Uber’s reluctance to follow rules and regulations, Travis affirmed that Uber has no problem whatsoever in following rules as long as these rules are directed towards the overall progress of the people. Travis believes that if you have a car and you want to serve the city, you should be allowed to do so.

He also quoted examples of laws prevalent across different cities of the world which prevent such companies from functioning normally. E.g. Seoul doesn’t allow any native citizen to use the services of Uber, even though Uber is completely legal there for anyone who is not a citizen of the country.

A German law says that after every ride, the rider has to go back to the garage, and then from there go to pick up the next ride.

He believes that regulations will always be behind technological advancements and that some radical changes will be required to cope up with it.

About Ola as a competitor

Amitabh also questioned the Silicon Valley CEO about his competitor in India by the name of Ola. Travis acknowledged that Ola is a fierce competitor and that competition is always good for companies and pushes them towards working better. Ultimately, it ends up serving the people in the best manner possible.

“Then why the merger in China?” was a quick question thrown to Travis after this. Very calmly, Travis replied “We were losing $200 million a month in China. Merger looked like a good option.”

About autonomous Vehicle Technology

Travis was inquired about how fast the autonomous vehicle technology will be available to India. The CEO of Uber, which has shown an interest in self-driving vehicles time and again, said that the technology in itself is ready but to implement it on Indian roads is a mammoth task. Because of the haphazard driving patterns, India might just receive this technology last.

“If we go out in a desert or an open place, I can show you the self-driving technology right now. But to bring it to the Indian roads is another thing altogether”

On women Safety

On the topic of safety of women users of Uber, Travis replied that these days every driver has their phone in full display, mounted on a phone holder in the car. Whenever in doubt, passengers can look into the map being displayed and keep a tab of the location.

Also, the ratings given to every driver by the users help the company to keep a record of every cab rider. He added that since the launch of their new feature ‘Share your ride’, the company has recorded very high numbers of sharing by Uber users indicating that the feature works very well in ensuring the safety of the users.

About Innovation

Uber is by every means a very innovation driven company. This is clear from the fact that Travis Kalanick already sees ‘Flying Cars’ in the near future and explains that all we need are drones which are large enough to carry weights equivalent to humans. Long lasting power sources and best noise reduction technology will be the keys to this innovation. He urges other companies to develop such technologies so Uber can implement it to serve its 50 Million plus user base.

On expanding user base

When Amitabh Kant asked Travis, the key factors of acquiring user base in India and China, Travis replied that going local was one major hack of acquiring user base. The more you know, the better you can serve them. Assuring the Safety of the users, integration with their phones, maps and understanding their mind-sets, everything falls under that.

He also appreciated China as a great country to work in as it really embraces progress. He mentioned that they had faced no resistance since they had started with their operations there.

Travis mentioned that Uber also shares valuable data with the cities for their progress. As the user base in a locality is understood, the journey maps, stoppage times, speed of the car helps the company deduce data like road conditions, traffic behaviour and much more.

‘Uber is my true love’ said Travis as he believes that if its services are made more reliable than cars and more cost-effective than owning one, people would eventually shift to using Uber.

Travis said it was an honour to meet Sachin Tendulkar. He also met Salman Khan and saw how Bollywood movies are made.

Also read: UberMOTO, a Bike Taxi Service by Uber Launched in Hyderabad

first published:December 20, 2016, 12:33 IST