Global taxi aggregator Uber is teaming up with Maruti Suzuki to push up the number of drivers on its platform to over one million.
According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the companies on Thursday, carmaker Maruti Suzuki will assess and train 30,000 commercial drivers for Uber, over the next three years.
The initiative, named UberSHAAN will be rolled out first in Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi-National Capital Region. After a four-month pilot, the facility will be extended to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Pune. Driver training and on-boarding programmes will be organised, which are required to join the Uber platform. Maruti has 370 driving schools and six institutes of driving and traffic research.
On completion of training and receipt of a commercial licence, Uber will also offer vehicle financing and leasing solutions. Uber has identified India as the next battleground, after it sold its operations to Didi Chuxing in China.
While the popular e-hailing app currently has over 400,000 driver partners, around half of that are active every month, Uber India President Amit Jain said on Thursday.
ďWe aim to have over a million active driver partners on our platform,Ē he said, at an event by industry body Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Uber also signed a MoU with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) on Thursday that will allow eligible drivers to gain access to NSDCís 158 training centres across 28 cities to get training, apart from receiving soft skills.
In both cases, driver aspirants will get access to the companyís option of vehicle fleets.
Uberís competitor Ola has been empowering its drivers over the years with a slew of initiatives, including Ola Pragati, promoting entrepreneurial behaviour, daily repayment car loan schemes, etc. The pink cabs initiative, launched in 2015, was an attempt to promote women drivers. Recently, Ola had also announced a major merger with Mahindra, giving fillip to their individual market presence.
Mahindra will sell a total of 40,000 vehicles to Ola in two years, starting with its Verito sedan and possibly, electric cars in the future. In return, Ola gains access to a one-stop shop for vehicles and services for its drivers at a special price. Ola will also be able to use the Indian automakerís reach in rural areas to lure new drivers to its platform.
IN THE DRIVERíS SEAT
- Under UberSHAAN, the e-hailing app will provide access to skill development and driver training to the unskilled
- The initiative will also help trained drivers receive commercial licences, vehicle financing and leasing solutions
- Uberís partnership with the NSDC and Maruti Suzuki will be instrumental in realising the aggregatorís goal by 2018
- Uber and Maruti will conduct a four-month pilot in Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Chennai and organise driver training and on-boarding programmes