Uber Goes From Four Wheels to Two, in Asia

Global ridesharing giant Uber has begun offering services on motorbikes and motorcycles, rolling out a pilot program first in Bangkok, Thailand and now in Bangalore, in southern India. The company is calling the service “uberMOTO.”

In many other countries Uber only offers services in standard vehicles (Uber frequently won’t approve two-door coupes, much less motorbikes). However, countries in southeast Asia and other areas often have heavy congestion due to an explosion in car ownership, coupled with infrastructure that hasn’t yet caught up. A 2011 report by IBM placed Bangalore sixth (between Johannesburg and New Delhi) on a list of the 20 worldwide cities with the worst congestion. Cities that westerners often consider to have extreme traffic, such as Los Angeles and New York City, place far further down the list.

So, many people ride motorbikes to get around instead of cars (authorities estimate that two-wheelers make up 70% of the vehicular traffic in Bangalore). Local Uber competitor Ola has also launched a motorbike ridesharing service in Bangalore. In Bangkok, GrabTaxi already lets users book two-wheeled rides. In Jakarta, Indonesia, there are multiple local motorbike ridesharing services, such as Go-Jek, Blu-Jek, and GrabBike. Uber does not have a version of uberMOTO in Jakarta – yet.

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