How Much Uber Drivers Earn in Pune

The Making of Digital India

Seven years have passed since I was last in India. And of course I knew that a lot of things must have changed. Media reports and stories from friends had put me in the mood that my India experience would certainly be different. How big the difference should actually be, I wasn't prepared for that. Particularly impressive: The change in local transport through UBER and Ola (the Indian competitor). What was a blessing for me in everyday life has turned into a curse for drivers in recent years - and not just in India.

It's 9 a.m. and I'm in a hurry. I would like to quickly drive from the southern district of Vasant Kunj to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), about three kilometers away, to hand in important documents to the International Office. The heat of the last few days - the temperature is just under 46 degrees - made me order an UBER on this summer's day. The advantage: I can sit in an air-conditioned car instead of drying out like a raisin in an auto rickshaw - all for the same price.

You need a little patience. Passengers wait for UBER drivers at New Delhi Airport. Image: S. Ebner

So I pack my things and call an UBER right before I leave the house. The app quickly searches for the right driver for me. In just nine minutes, Pradeep should arrive near my home with a rating of 4.7 out of a possible 5 stars. I wait on a green park bench while the employees of a milk shop across the street watch me curiously. After exactly 9 minutes, the time has come. Pradeep's car stops on the busy street. I rush to the white Citroen, open the door and enjoy the cold air that blows towards me. Uber is a blessing I think.

What is a blessing for me has long since become a curse for many professional drivers in the capital. The reason: You earn badly. This was confirmed by a driver in Delhi in February 2018 during a long drive in his Honda from the city center to Vasant Kunj. According to his own statements, he became a member of UBER in 2014. In the beginning it was worth it, says the friendly driver with a mustache. He earned 15 rupees per kilometer - without having to pay taxes to Uber. “The incentives were high,” he recalls.

From A to B in Delhi. During my interview, the journey was the goal. Screenshot S. Ebner

However, those times are now over. He now pays 25 percent of his sales to the online platform. There isn't much left for him, his wife and his two sons, he says. “Today hardly anyone wants to do this job anymore.” Exceptions are young people without families and immigrants (from poorer states in India). They would then be ready to sleep in very cheap accommodation - or even in the car, says the family man. UBER's dealings with the drivers make him sad: “What are they doing? You only provide the platform, nothing else. "

"Today hardly anyone wants to do this job anymore."

The situation for drivers in India continued to worsen in the course of 2018 - mainly due to the rising fuel prices in India. In October last year, it was enough for the driver. Many went on strike to draw attention to their predicament. 1 And drivers have taken to the streets in other countries too - in Australia, the USA. 2 The problem: A large number of them work full-time without the insurance they receive were previously associated with this type of employment - insurance, for example, or a pension plan.

The global strikes have not changed much to this day. Because the company is as good as immune to protests from its users. In an interview by email in March 2018 (see below), UBER responded to the question of how it assesses its future in India: “We are very excited at the growth, we are experiencing today in India and very optimistic about the future ahead. “In view of their earnings, however, the UBER drivers are certainly not necessarily optimistic about the future.

Here is an interview with UBER (March 2018 by email). I waited almost two months for these answers. A telephone interview was not given to me on request.

1. Why is UBER so successful in India?

Cities spend billions of dollars on parking spaces, using valuable resources and real estate that could be transformed into housing or office space. Around the world, commuters are wasting several hours a year sitting in traffic. Closer home, as per a recent BCG report, congestion levels in Indian cities - Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore - is currently 149% higher than comparable cities around Asia. Consequently commuters take about 1.5 times longer to travel a given distance, costing these cities over USD 22 billion per year. Not only does traffic affect productivity, but also emissions from idling cars make up more than 20% of our total carbon footprint. This is the transportation landscape, in which Uber, the global pioneer in ride-sharing services has had a critical role to play.
By turning personal cars into shared vehicles, services like ours have been able to bring on-demand transportation and an alternative to car ownership to new neighborhoods and people across the metros, and, increasingly, to smaller cities and towns. Estimates suggest that in an optimal scenario, a reduction of 33% -68% in private cars could reduce congestion by 17% -31% across Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore and lead to saving approximately 760 to 22,000 acres of unnecessary parking space in each city. For example, in Delhi up to 22,369 acres of space can be saved by adopting rideshare (assuming rideshare substitutes for private cars), which is almost 4 times the size of Indira Gandhi Airport. This is huge.
We continue to be at the forefront when it comes to unlocking the true potential of ridesharing for India, and in just a few years, we've begun to witness the transformative impact that ride-sharing can have.
Today, Uber is present in 34 cities in India, 2 cities in Bangladesh (Chittagong and Dhaka), and in Colombo, Sri Lanka. With over 1,200 employees, Uber continues its exponential growth journey - focusing on providing affordable, reliable and convenient transportation to millions of riders and livelihood opportunities for hundreds of thousands of driver partners.
We are delighted at the continued growth of the business and the difference we are making in the lives of our riders, drivers and cities. We will continue our journey towards our vision of redefining the future of urban mobility.

2. What are the challenges?

We know that many riders and drivers have low-end devices. While data connectivity has developed leaps and bounds in the last 2-3 years, we still have many areas with networks that do not support a magical rider experience. Historically, our product has done very well in good device and network environments but we are working now for it to work for riders who may not have that.
We're focusing on key areas for riders - building solutions for those who don't have access to the Uber app, enabling our existing rider app to work better in emerging markets, solve for riders who have low end devices and are in areas with limited networks. Customer obsession is a key theme for us - we want to make sure we understand the rider, their needs, the barriers, and then build from there. We are building features that will help us better serve our rider needs and have recently announced the roll out of India-focused innovations including:
● The light web-based version of Uber, provides riders with another convenient option to book an Uber. This feature will be helpful for riders who have basic smartphones, that can support web browsing but cannot support mobile apps due to limited storage space, or want to book a ride from a tablet or computer.
● Call to ride: Calling over the phone is still a natural experience for emerging markets, and we've heard that some riders in India prefer booking a ride through a phone call. We're piloting a phone number that riders can call to book an Uber across popular zones in a city. This will be particularly useful for riders who only have a feature phone, areas with limited network or those who use a smartphone but have limited memory capacity or are running out of their data plan.
● Offline search: For riders using the app in areas with poor network connectivity, Uber is enabling offline search by caching the top points of interest in the city so that riders can enter their destinations in the app without having to wait for the connection.
● Request for a guest: A fully redesigned and enhanced feature, riders will now be able to book an Uber for a loved one from their Uber app, no matter where the rider or guest is located. Their guest does not need a smartphone or the Uber app in order to book a ride.

3. What is planned for the future?

We will continue to become an even more integral part of cities in India, helping riders find a ride at the tap of a button, while providing livelihood opportunities for hundreds of thousand of driver-partners. We are partnering with public transit systems to provide reliable first / last mile connectivity. We believe that ridesharing coupled with public transportation can help reduce congestion.
We will also increasingly build out our product to be leading not only globally, but also focus on specific functionality purpose-built for our Indian customers. We have a robust pipeline of new products and features for both riders and driver partners that will be rolling out in the second half of the year, and our engineering teams in Bangalore and Hyderabad are continuing to focus on building India-first products, like UberHIRE , UberFLEET, Request a Ride for Others, and more recently UberPASS. We are doubling down on our technology to move the metrics that matter: seamless ride experience for both riders and driver partners.
You will see us continue to launch new products and increase our invest in India. UberPOOL continues to be a strong focus in 2018. It now accounts for over 20 percent of trips in the seven UberPOOL cities - New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. We are accelerating our investment in UberMOTO, especially in high demand, fast growing smaller and medium sized cities.
We want to work on making the most impact on the widest possible base — and for this, we are hiring engineering talent from and in India and are investing heavily in research and resources. We also believe we are on the right path to build deeper brand relevance and localize our brand strategy. Appointing Virat Kohli, Captain - Indian Cricket team was a first-of-its-kind initiative for Uber in the country. With a common vision of empowering people and communities, this partnership will see Uber and Virat Kohli join hands to underscore the company’s commitment to serve billions in the country, in the years to come. As we continue to reframe personal mobility for our next billion riders in India, we aim to make booking Uber a habit, whether it is ride to work, the metro station or even the local market.
We are very excited at the growth, we are experiencing today in India and very optimistic about the future ahead. The management, both global and in India, is committed to the mission.


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