Uber launched the service, called Uber Moto, for the first time in the world in Bangkok just about ten days ago. Bengaluru will be the second city to see the service. It’s a pilot project and is expected to be extended to other Indian cities once Uber gains greater confidence about the model.Customers can share a ride with Uber’s motorbike taxi drivers for as low as Rs 3-5 per km, besides a minimum fare and a per minute fare, said sources familiar with the development. The service is targeted at short trips. Uber declined to comment on the matter.It’s not clear how many bikes have joined the Uber platform. The regulatory regime for two-wheeler taxis is also not clear. Ola declined to comment on its plans, but sources said the services is in the works.The segment has seen a lot of interest. Some 20 bike taxi startups have been launched in India over the past 18 months, including Gurgaon-based Baxi and M-Taxi and Bengaluru-based Rapido, Pillionaire, Heybob and Headlyt. Headlyt charges Rs 5 per km and has a base fare of Rs 15. Some keep their base fare at Rs 10 for the first 1-2 km and then charge in the range of Rs 4-5 per km.
“Uber and Ola are still expensive for a majority of people in India, even after the discounted rates. In most Indian cities, last-mile connectivity and an integrated mass rapid transport system is still a far cry and that makes travel time prohibitively high even for short-haul commutes,” said serial entrepreneur K Ganesh.Entrepreneur and investor Alok Mittal, who has invested in Baxi, says the opportunity in the bike taxi market is bigger than cab aggregation. “It’s still early days, but it has massive potential,” he said.Baxi has raised $1.5 million from a clutch of investors, has 400 bikes on its platform and says it is seeing about 3,000 rides a day in Gurgaon and Faridabad where it operates. It charges a 10% commission on the total fare.”We provide safety gear to the driver and rider and we intend to do 4,000 rides a day after we enter the Noida market soon,” said Baxi’s founder & MD Ashutosh Johri. With the Karnataka government making it mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets, UberMoto drivers will have a helmet available for its riders. At the end of the trip, customers can choose to pay using cash or wallet. UberMoto will also allow any two-wheeler owner to register themselves on the platform to offer rides, said sources. Globally, Singapore-based cab aggregator GrabTaxi has been operating bike taxis in Bangkok since last year and Sequoia Capital-backed Go Jek is one of the leading players in the segment in Indonesia.