Francisco Sordo
General Manager Mexico and the Caribbean
Uber
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View from the Top

Everyone's Private Driver Shifts Gears

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 13:14

Q: How successful has uberPOOL been given recent environmental conditions and traffic regulations in Mexico City?

A: In only three years, Uber’s mission went from being everyone’s private driver to the much more ambitious vision of improving cities around the world. Our goal is not just to offer an accessible, safe and reliable transportation option at the press of a button but also to reduce the number of private vehicles on the street. This will eventually lead to less traffic and less air pollution.

We released uberPOOL in line with our strategy to improve cities wordwide. It is an innovative product that allows people with similar destinations to share their ride. Commuters benefit from lower prices and vehicles are more space-efficient. This service is now available in three cities including Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City.

One in every four users in Guadalajara chooses uberPOOL as their preferred service and although not all uberPOOL trips are shared, 50 percent of users were matched with someone going in the same direction. In Mexico City, uberPOOL has accounted for more than 3.7 million carpools in the service’s first five months. This represents savings of 6.8 million driving kilometers.

Q: How have mobility regulations evolved and impacted Uber’s position in the Mexican market?

A: Uber’s growth is dependent on market demand. Many cities are now requesting our services, which has contributed to our local growth. We started 2016 operatingin nine cities and we now operate in more than 24. At the end of 2015, Mexico was ranked third globally for most Uber rides having reached Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, Cuernavaca, Hermosillo, Merida, Mexicali, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi and Torreon.

The company supports any regulation that benefits consumers and promotes their right to choose their preferred transport solution. We also encourage any legislation that supports entrepreneurial and selfemployment options such as those offered by Uber’s technology. We trust that positive regulations will continue to be implemented in the interests of urban populations as the government ensures access to technology that improves people's quality of life.

Q: How does Uber’s relationship with OEMs and dealerships help obtain cars at more accessible prices for Uber drivers?

A: Uber has a close relationship with dealerships and distribution groups at a local and national level. This allows us to engage in agreements that provide more accessible conditions to entrepreneurs that want to work with Uber. Nissan, for instance, said that 10 percent of its sales in 2015 were the result of a support plan for Uber drivers.

Q: How is Uber coping with excessive demand for drivers as the company grows and how can it improve the recruitment process?

A: More people are applying to join Uber as drivers, allowing us to cover our increasing demand. Our technology helps us adapt to the market at all times and our driver selection process is constantly being tightened to implement stricter security filters that ensure passenger safety. Before being cleared, all drivers must prove they have a clean criminal record for at least three months and they have to do a series of tests.

The company also carries out random drug testing. Our best quality control is our shared rating system where users can grade drivers, while drivers also have the option to rate their clients. Uber has a customer service team in charge of revising all comments after every ride. They help us detect unusual or inappropriate behavior and apply the necessary corrections.

Q: What does Uber’s expected capitalization of over US$60 billion valuation signal to potential investors in Mexico?

A: The company’s market value reflects our global growth and our development in number of users, partner-drivers and new locations benefiting from our service. In the first quarter of 2016, Mexico reached 1.2 million users.

Q: What strategies has the company implemented to push the boundaries of innovation and customer service?

A: One of Uber’s catalysts is continuous innovation, offering users service beyond what they are familiar with through the app. We look for new ways to surprise our audience, creating magical, unique and interesting experiences through alliances with other companies, brands and organizations. uberDONAS is an example of how the company creates products and services completely out of the ordinary. We delivered 120,000 donuts through this service and our overwhelming success resulted in 400 percent more ride requests than any normal Thursday. The initiative also had a positive social media impact for Uber and Krispy Kreme, generating over 5,000 Instagram publications.

We have held over 30 multicity campaigns in the country plus many more local activities with several collaborators. This maintains the brand’s dynamic and innovative status and helps us get close to customers.

Q: How likely is it that projects similar to uberCHOPPER will be introduced for tourists?

A: The uberCHOPPER project has been an effective way of using technology to connect tourist sites with an experience that highlights the Mexican spirit. We implemented uberCHOPPER in Guadalajara during the Mexican Independence Day festivities with excellent results. For one week, couples could travel to Tequila by helicopter, and experience hovering over the region. After the tour, users were driven in uberSUV to a buffet and a cultural ride around the distillery region. The initiative saw high demand and it was the longest uberCHOPPER service in Latin America.

We only instated uberCHOPPER as a marketing strategy in Mexico rather than a fixed product. We would eventually like to establish it as a tourism service because the potential for these services in Mexico is enormous.

Uber is perhaps one of the companies with the strongest local strategies in the world. Even though the experience is practically the same in the more than 470 cities we operate, we offer specialized services according to the needs of the customers in each of them. That is why we have uberMOTO services in Asia and uberCHOPPER solutions in the Middle East. Therefore, we will undoubtedly see new and exciting products and services in Mexico’s cities.

Q: What specific services is Uber planning to bring to Mexico City in the near future?

A: Given its size, diversity and dynamism, Mexico City is the perfect destination to launch innovative products that have a huge chance for success. The implementation of all our services from uberBLACK to uberPOOL is proof of this. Our next challenge is to bring uberEATS to the city. Mexico has a strong and varied gastronomic culture so the natural step for Uber is to move from transporting people to delivering food to our clients wherever they are.