“Long-term, nothing changes. We need to bring in more vehicles and more drivers to the category across three-wheelers, two-wheelers and four-wheelers,” Prabhjeet Singh, president, Uber India and South Asia, told ET in an interview. “We continue to invest in India.”
Last week, Uber launched in Agartala, the 83rd city in India where it will offer ride hailing services.
“Now that we have a product market fit, we are very committed to launching new cities and more products in existing cities,” Singh said.
Uber also launched auto rentals in six cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Pune.
Singh said it would take months before the mobility sector hits pre-Covid-19 numbers but maintained that the trajectory remains positive, even as use cases change.
“In terms of the near term, I think what we are over-indexing on is creating partnerships and efforts which will bring back riders to the platform,” he said.
He declined to share numbers but said some cities like Delhi and Mumbai were inching closer to a full recovery, while some categories like autos were growing faster than its core ride hailing business.
“New categories are actually becoming bigger than what they were. Inter-city…we are seeing particularly in the run up to the festive season, people are taking trips outside the city anywhere from 100 to 300 km,” he said.
The mobility sector has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic due to restricted people movement. Airport transits and office travel — the two highest frequency use cases of mobility platforms Uber and Ola – are down drastically.
“Early on, as the flights were limited, airport use cases did drop. As offices shut, we saw a drop in some of the office use cases… But we did see an increase in users stepping out to local markets, or go to pharmacies, hospitals…for short distance trips, use of autos is increasing,” said Singh.
In July, Uber appointed Singh as president of its India and South Asia business, a month after the former top boss for the region – Pradeep Parameswaran – was promoted as the regional general manager for Asia-Pacific.
Singh joined Uber in August 2015 from McKinsey and Co, where he was an Associate Partner.
Since then, he has been part of the core team that adapted the global business model to India, launched in multiple new cities and led several India-first innovations, including scaling up Auto and Moto categories.