India has become the latest market to take an interest in ride-hailing services, with state-run companies taking on Uber and other similar services to expand their reach and take advantage of a nascent market.
The move has been welcomed by regulators who believe it will lead to a more efficient and cost-effective ride-sharing industry in India.
“I think we are witnessing an acceleration of the evolution of ride-share in India,” said Anand Vohra, chief executive of Bengaluru-based platform Uber.
“It is very important that the government is listening to the concerns of the taxi and limousine industry.”
India is home to around 7 per cent of the world’s taxi-drivers and 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent who work in the private limousines, taxis and taxis-for-hire industry.
The government has been lobbying for a crackdown on the industry in the wake of a series of deaths in which two of the drivers were killed in accidents.
Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, told the Economic Times newspaper in an interview published on Monday that India is now in the driverless era and is looking for ways to get around existing regulations.
Uber said in a statement that it was taking steps to enhance its safety standards.
Kalanicks vision for India’s ride-service industry The ride-harnessing service is expected to bring in more than $100 billion to the economy, and is expected be the dominant player in India for the next five years, according to analysts.
Uber is currently the only one that is able to offer a fully automated car service in India, with more than 60 per cent market share.
But the company has struggled to gain traction, and in 2017 it faced legal action in India after it faced criticism for its service in Bengaluru.
The company had to pay a $4.5 million fine, and was also banned from operating in Bengalu city in the city of Bengal for a year.
Uber faced a similar fine in the US in 2017 for violating regulations for drivers.
Uber has also faced a string of regulatory issues in recent years, including over the number of drivers in its fleet and over its payment methods.
The Uber app for iOS and Android in India was recently blocked by India’s internet regulator after complaints about how it was violating the country’s anti-money laundering laws.
In August, Uber was banned in India and the company was asked to pay $1.5 billion to settle charges of misappropriating $500 million from customers.
Uber in India also faced criticism from taxi unions, who said it was failing to provide an adequate service and charging drivers extortion fees to drive passengers away.
The regulator in India is yet to decide on the appeal against Uber.
But Kalanicky said that the company will soon be able to expand to more cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune.
“We will be opening up our network to more destinations,” he said.