Uber authority provides their service over 700 cities worldwide. Uber has recently taken up some initiatives
about road safety in Bangladesh. Launched and currently leads Uber in Bangladesh Quazi Zulquarnain shares
his views on the road safety campaign, an exclusive interview with Tanzil zia of The Asian Age.
Uber is organizing a road safety campaign for the first time. What influences you to start this initiative?
As Bangladesh continues on its trajectory of growth, the role of road safety acquires immense importance. A combination of policy initiatives and awareness building activities are needed to shine the light on the criticality of road safety.
At Uber, we always place safety at the heart of our service. In order to reiterate our commitment to #SafetyAtHeart, we launched this road safety campaign, so that both the riders and driver partners become more aware about the traffic rules and obey them carefully while being on-road.
Road safety is a key concern for Bangladesh and something that needs participation from all stakeholders. With this campaign, we wish to raise awareness around it among both our driver partners as well as riders.
What kind of initiatives will you take during this road safety month?
Throughout this month we have taken several initiatives like initiating driver welfare program by doing free eye checkup for at least 1000 driver-partners and if needed they will be provided medicines and optics at a maximum discounted price.
We have organized educational workshop on road safety for our driver partners in coalition with BRAC, where our driver partners will be trained on various aspects of road safety including proper road safety knowledge and defensive driving. We've also distributes helmets to our driver partners and updated our community guidelines to raise awareness on and off the ground, and bolstering safety of riders, driver partners and the general public.
What are your safety features added for riders and driver partners?
Safety is a shared responsibility. At Uber we try bring innovative ways through technology to make our service as safe as possible. We have "Safety Toolkit" - a consolidated and comprehensive set of in-app features for both riders and driver-partners in Bangladesh.
For riders the toolkit enables sharing trip up to 5 loved ones, access national emergency 999 service. Drivers' safety toolkit also enables them to use share trip and emergency button. The toolkit also alerts them if the vehicles exceed the speed limit. Both rider and driver can claim insurance protection if there's any unwanted accident on trip.
Recently, we have launched another feature called "check your ride". Every time someone rides with Uber, they will get in-app reminders and a push notification, reminding them to make sure they're getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, car make and model and the driver photo with what's provided in the app. Beside these there are also other features like GPS tracking, verified contacts, phone anonymization, two-way feedback system etc.
In addition to this, Uber is working closely with the law enforcement agencies, NGOs and the Government, at both city and country level, through a series of partnerships and programs that will help pre-empt and prevent any untoward incidents, keeping our cities Uber safe.
Do you think other public transport will affect Uber?
Absolutely not, I find it very healthy. We have competitors but the market is big enough for growth. In developed market where the public transport system is at its best, we are doing business successfully there.
How Uber is serving the economy?
Uber is one of the fastest growing startups worldwide, In other developed markets, where almost everyone owns a car, it's an optional earning but in markets like Bangladesh and India, people take it as a core earning source. So both directly and indirectly we are contributing to the economy.
What is your future plan?
At Uber, with the advent of technology we provide a safe and secure service just by the tap of a button anytime, anywhere. In the expenditure of the just 2.5 years we expand our services to 3 cities - Dhaka, Chattogram & Sylhet - and currently, we have six services - UberX, XL, Uber Premier, Uber MOTO, Uber Hire and Uber Intercity.
Everyday, we are seeing more and more riders rely on Uber for their daily commute. While we cannot comment on the exact number of trips and riders currently on the app, we can delighted to say that Bangladesh is the largest Moto market for Uber and Dhaka is our 'Moto Capital'. (Till November 2019) With more than 100,000 driver partners, nearly 2,500 weekly sign ups to drive on Uber, Bangladesh is expected to contribute 25% of Uber's growth in the region in 2019.
We are going to put every bit of what it takes to help transform mobility and bring this innovation to our cities through constructive dialogue and engagement with all stakeholders. Currently, we don't have any plans to share in Bangladesh, but we are working towards getting more and more riders to enjoy a seamless ride experience while creating livelihood opportunities for our driver partners.
Do you have any message for your users?
Of course, most collisions are caused due to negligence and improper road etiquettes. Therefore, it is our endeavor to raise awareness about road safety and sensitize our riders and driver partners on road safety rules. The onus of road safety lies on everyone, and as responsible corporate citizens, Uber wants to express solidarity with the government's vision of making Bangladesh's roads safer.
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