Ride hailing app Uber has launched a new service offering rides on two wheels for users in Thailand.
This is the first time that the company has branched out into two-wheeled services. It usually uses cars to get users from A to B. The new service will be called UberMOTO and launches today in the Thai capital, Bangkok.
Bangkok Uber users can now hail motorbikes or cars
Uber sent out a press release detailing the fact that the new service is a pilot scheme. UberMOTO is aimed at crowded cities in emerging markets which suffer from bad traffic congestion, meaning that motorbikes can get users around town faster than cars.
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For Uber users in Bangkok the new service will appear as another option on the app, and it works in exactly the same way as the existing service. Motorbike drivers will be made to pass the same background checks as car drivers, and they will have to bring a helmet along for their passengers.
Rides start at ?10 ($0.28), plus ?3.5 a kilometer ($0.10) and ?0.85 a minute ($0.02). Users will be able to pay for their UberMOTO ride using cash or credit card.
Company hopes Thai pilot scheme will be more successful than Indian failure
Bangkok was chosen as the site for the pilot scheme as motorbikes are a very popular vehicle in the city, which suffers from terrible traffic congestion. The new service is the latest pilot scheme that Uber has launched in emerging markets.
In India the company introduced an auto rickshaw service in April 2015, but it performed poorly and was shut down after just 8 months in operation. The new motorbike service will face stiff competition from existing mototaxi services, and other apps.
Perhaps the largest rival app is Grab Bike, which is part of a family of ride hailing apps owned by a Singaporean company supported by Lyft. Should UberMOTO ever move into new cities outside Bangkok, it will run into Grab Bike.
It appears that the company will wait and see how the service performs in the Thai capital before introducing it to other emerging markets. After the failed experiment in India, it may be better to take a cautious approach this time around.