In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune, Head of Uber Bangladesh and East India Ratul Ghosh said ride sharing services will become available gradually amid the Covid-19 outbreak..
When will ride sharing service resume in Dhaka and prime cities amid the pandemic?
The ride sharing services have already resumed since two weeks after the three-month public holiday announced by the government in order to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.
But the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has allowed only enlisted vehicles to ply on the roads, so we are emphasizing on enlisting vehicles. After communicating with them, we have noticed a sound interest from drivers and owners to enlist their cars. Ride sharing services will become available gradually amid the pandemic, as the enlistment process and payment system is still very slow, despite the BRTA improving the process by increasing the number of payment points, allowing riders to pay through banks.
We are providing a reliable service to the commuters by educating the drivers and riders over the safety protocols in the pandemic.
Do you think it is your failure to convince the government to resume ride sharing service in full swing, as a leading operator?
Agreeing to resume ride sharing service, with a condition of enlisted vehicles, is a significant progress in terms of getting livelihood opportunities for the drivers.
We think this is the first breakthrough in the industry towards reopening the service amid the pandemic. We see a lot of interest from both drivers and riders for getting the service in this pandemic situation. At the same time, resuming the services in Chittagong and Sylhet is under discussion.
How will Uber Rentals be more comfortable for commuters?
As the first ridesharing company in Bangladesh, Uber has launched ‘Uber Rentals’, an on demand rentals service which allows riders to book a car and its driver for several hours.
Uber Rentals caters to this need by allowing users to book an Uber for multiple hours with flexible and affordable packages, and also gives them the option to make multiple stops on their journey. All vehicles and drivers will maintain the health guidelines and provide the highest possible safety standards.
For our drivers, this offers yet another opportunity to earn on the platform.
What is your preparation in safety measures to battle the coronavirus?
Over the past few weeks, Uber has launched a comprehensive set of safety measures and have distributed safety kits consisting of masks, hand sanitizers, bar soaps, tissue papers to driver partners, along with placing rider safety placards in cars to create awareness.
In June, Uber spearheaded the formation of a Transport Safety Alliance (TSA) to generate safety awareness amongst consumers, and to equip drivers with health and safety supplies.