Ride hailing company Uber on Friday opened its largest driver onboarding and training centre in the country in Bengaluru as it grapples with attrition due to a massive cut in incentives paid out to drivers.
Bengaluru is among the largest markets for ride hailing in India and has an estimated 120,000 cabs on streets. A cut in incentives paid by the two largest ride hailing firms Uber and Ola last year has led thousands of drivers quitting from their respective platforms across the country, including Bengaluru
"Through the Greenlight Centre, we are offering in-person assistance to more than 4,000 driver partners a week. We are continuing to invest in our in-person locations and have launched three other facilities at Devanahalli, Yelahanka and HBR," said Christian Freese, General Manager for South India at Uber.
The centre dubbed "Uber Bazaar" houses dealers representing all major car manufacturers in the country. It would also accommodate Uber's own leasing arm and service providers to help drivers file income tax returns. Apart from helping drivers in signing up on its platform and getting a car to drive, the centre will also house a team of Uber employees that will train and answer all queries of drivers.
As drivers find it harder to pay monthly instalments for loans on their cars, several of them have resorted to selling them and exiting the business. Several new drivers are opting to lease cars from Uber and Ola, instead of owning them.
Redseer Consulting, an analyst firm tracking the ride-hailing market in India, had estimated that the market for app-based taxis in India shrunk by 5 per cent in the first quarter of the year. Shortage in supply of cabs was identified as the key factor impacting the business in India.
Other estimates show that out of the total base of drivers operating under Uber, the share of active Uber drivers does not exceed beyond 40 per cent.
Several cabs belong to fleet operators who offer outstation rides and deploy their cabs on Uber and Ola only when they fail to get business.
To counter this trend of drivers quitting from their platforms, both Uber and Ola had started stepping up their driver onboarding exercise across the country. Further, they have also begun pushing shared rides at flat rates of Rs 29 and Rs 49 in order to get more customers into the same cab. Ola is also on a massive drive to recruit auto rickshaws on its platform in order to meet some of its supply gap.