Zulquar Quazi Islam (Lead, Uber Bangladesh) gives into why Uber is still the King

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An Insight Into Why Uber is Still the King of Ride-Sharing Apps

There has been an unprecedented number of ride sharing apps available now in Dhaka. In your opinion what sets Uber apart from other apps? How would you describe the marketing strategy of Uber for the diverse riders using the app?
To make the Uber experience distinctive we invest in our technology as well as in educating riders and drivers who use the Uber app. We have some of the best tech talent working on our app, who are uniquely positioned to combine global excellence with regional learning. At Uber, we pride ourselves on being as global as we are local. While we bring global standards and technologies to each city in which we operate, we also learn about local needs and innovate accordingly. For example, our products UberMOTO and UberHIRE have been launched in Dhaka in the last year to meet the specific needs of Dhaka riders. Our marketing strategy too is built around this belief – we constantly aim to bring to our riders and drivers in Bangladesh our global expertise coupled with local research.

What would the definition of success be for you as the Country Lead of Uber Bangladesh? Who inspires you to be a better leader?
At Uber, we consider personal car ownership as our real competition – what we are truly competing against is a change in vehicle occupancy. In Bangladesh, owning a car is seen as a dream. But owning a car is expensive and if you can get a car in less than five minutes, what need do you really have to own one? At this point, ridesharing accounts for less than one percent of the trips taking place in Dhaka. We will consider ourselves successful when we truly improve the urban mobility landscape by getting more people in fewer cars and continue to build livelihood opportunities for thousands of driver partners.

What are the unique challenges for Uber in Bangladesh? And which ones were anticipated and which ones were unexpected? Where do you see Uber in the next five years?
Our goal in any city in which we operate is to provide the most reliable and affordable rides as well as provide flexible income opportunities. In terms of opportunities that are unexpected, we strive to solve problems that are very local to the markets we operate in through our innovative technology – one example of that would be the Safety Toolkit we have launched recently in light of the strong push towards road safety in Bangladesh, which has 999 integrated, and the option to share every trip on Uber with your trusted contacts. It strengthens one of our core beliefs to move with safety at heart.

What would you say is your favorite feature of the app? And what would you want to improve/further work on if given a free rein? What sort of innovation does Uber plan to introduce in Bangladesh?
I’ve got a ton of favorite features on the app – adding multiple destinations, adding a credit card payment method, the 999 integration, you name it. My all time favorite though is the Share Your Trip feature. I often use it when meeting friends as it lets you track the other person’s trip. It keeps people very honest about time and location!  

Globally, we are looking to introduce more modes of transportation on our platform. We would definitely want to explore options that are unique to the Bangladeshi market in the near future.

Uber has been popular among women looking for a safer way to travel. However, there have been stories of harassment faced by multiple women by their Uber drivers. How would you market Uber to women who have faced such harassment or fear the risk of harassment by the drivers?
We believe that technology provides an incredible opportunity to improve road safety in new and innovative ways before, during and after every ride. From the moment the rider is matched with a driver until he or she reaches the destination, the Uber experience has been designed to always put safety first. We are committed to providing a reliable and safe platform to both our riders and drivers.

  • Before a Ride: To ensure a relatively safe, reliable and convenient travel from point A to point B, the Uber app gives you the ability to see your driver’s details in advance, including his name, photograph, make of car and the car registration number.
  • During a Ride: While on a trip, riders can avail the benefit of GPS tracking and Safety Toolkit- a consolidated and comprehensive set of features in-app for riders. We’ve updated our app with safety in mind, locating all things safely in one central place and making it accessible directly from the home screen during a trip. The feature includes Trusted Contacts, Safety Center, and the emergency button that provided riders direct access to 999, the police control room.
  • After a Ride:  Apart from rating the driver once the trip is complete, riders can go to the Past Trips section in-app and provide feedback on the ride. Our round-the-clock in-app customer support is designed to further improve productivity and operations, with a core focus to provide specialized support for critical incidents that require immediate attention.
  • Insurance policy: Uber has also launched a first-of-its-kind insurance program for riders and driver partners. This will provide the riders and driver partners with a secured feeling while they are On Trip. Riders and Driver partners (aged up to 70 years) of UberMOTO and Uber 4-wheelers can avail this insurance program if a situation arises. The amount varies from case to case but is the same for both the rider and driver partner.
    In addition, we are equally conscious about the registration of our driver partners with valid documents and background checks. Mandatory soft skill training enables them to offer riders a great experience.

Uber has made strides in ensuring a safer ride for those opting for UberMOTO. What inspired these changes? How else do you see the company progressing in this area in the future?
At Uber, safety is one of our top priorities. We’ve recently started distributing helmets to our Moto partners, both for them and the rider. Road safety is an increasingly important issue in Bangladesh and we definitely want to encourage the community to take all measures necessary to move with safety at heart. We’ve introduced the in-app Safety Toolkit to harness the power of tech for a safer ride. Our driver-partners go through mandatory training before they can go online. We will continue to encourage all our MOTO partners and riders to adhere to traffic laws and wear helmets when they move.

We currently have a robust training and onboarding process that focuses on how to use the app, navigation, road safety rules, customer service standards, etc. The Uber Excellence program features several sessions that include training, tests and continuous information sharing.

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