Uber Mexico: Innovative, Smart, EfficientBy Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 01/25/2021 - 06:00
Q: What were Uber México’s milestones in 2020?
A: It was a really interesting and challenging year. I joined Uber México with the intention and commitment to deliver access to Uber to more and more Mexicans, both users and those looking for additional income through the platform. Soon after I arrived, we faced COVID-19 and the world changed toward finding solutions to protect the most vulnerable. In the very first moments of the crisis, we urged people to stay home. At the time, one of the milestones of the company both at the global level and in Mexico was that we started to move what matters the most. We transported food, medical staff, donors, and all people involved in dealing with this situation. At the global level, we provided 10 million free rides for this purpose.
The next milestone was how we used all of our technological capabilities to provide safe transportation for everyone. We initiated different campaigns, including “no mask, no ride,” which was easily implemented through technological features that ensured all cautions were set in place. We are proud of the action we took in light of this unprecedented situation.
Q: What is the nature of Uber’s partnerships with companies like Urbvan and Kavak and what other partnerships are strategic for Uber?
A: At Uber, we are committed to achieving accessible mobility. Partnerships with Kavak and Urbvan address key factors for us. Through Kavak, for instance, we can enable access for more people to find in Uber a place to generate additional income. This allows us to provide more affordable solutions for those aiming to acquire a used vehicle to then work with Uber.
Urbvan, on the other hand, is one of many initiatives aspiring to be a platform accessible to any user while contributing to sustainability. Urbvan is an inter-city transportation platform for defined routes with a greater passenger capacity. Our partnership implies that our users will have an alternative to moving between cities.
Our goal is to be the mobility platform that best adapts to what Mexicans need and that they can trust. Moreover, one of our commitments is to become a sustainable platform to set an example for the future. The public should wait for some surprises and partnerships in this regard over the year. During the pandemic, we also realized how important it was to combat domestic violence. We created a partnership with the national network of shelters and Avon to work on a violence-free lockdown. Through different schemes, we support women in need of shelter. We have also been working with ACTO, a civil association to promote gender equality.
Q: What are Uber’s strategies to maintain its market leadership in Mexico amid increasing competition from other platforms?
A: Competition is always healthy. It makes us more creative regarding how we can deliver more value to our users and partners. We work toward being the most secure and accessible ride-hailing platform. To achieve this, we get really close to our users and listen to their needs, while keeping in mind the needs of our partner drivers. Among our different options, we have Uber Promo, a functionality that allows us to offer 15 percent discounts at times when there is a low demand for rides. This works for both users and partner drivers because users get cheaper rides and drivers get more rides.
We are about to launch Uber Taxi. We have opened the channels for taxis to sign-in in Colima, Durango, Manzanillo, Chihuahua, and Monterrey, and we are about to open the product to the rest of the country. Uber Taxi is a radio taxi service through which users can hire the taxi they need at any given moment. This creates demand for traditional taxi services. We also have Uber Moto in Cuernavaca. Uber Moto is 40 percent below the cost of an UberX ride, which works best for last-mile rides and it is usually faster. These are just a few of the projects we are working on to benefit our users while increasing the possibilities for partner drivers.
On the drivers’ side, we have also implemented several initiatives. During this unprecedented situation, we sought out different schemes to mitigate the economic impact of the situation we are living in. Uber Flash is a clear example and now we are beyond half a million deliveries at the national level. Our different initiatives ensure we remain innovative, smart, and efficient.
Q: The new tax reform has introduced new conditions for partner drivers and the company. How are you addressing this situation?
A: For us, taxation is really important. We abide by the authorities’ requirements and we keep in close communication with the government. It is a matter of teamwork and adapting internal mechanisms to comply with the norm. New taxes are important because they impact our partner drivers. In fact, the tax policy has helped them. Before, drivers were taxed between 2 and 8 percent depending on their income. Now, it is a 2.1 percent fixed rate regardless of income. This is a great motivator for partner drivers to continue working since their tax remains the same. This will provide greater clarity for them when it comes to their income.
The other factor is the switch mechanism through which regulators are aiming to set common grounds for competition. We do not believe it is the best approach, but we are fully compliant.
Q: What is your perspective on the future of mobility?
A: This is a question we ask ourselves every day. We are aware that the pandemic has its ups and downs. We are living in a really complex moment where we have different mobility restrictions from state to state. Interestingly, the pandemic left permanent changes in people’s lives. As a consequence, we at Uber are focusing on developing new alternatives that allow us to be where people need us the most.
We maintain our goals for sustainability and our commitment to our users and partners. We are performing Uber Transit pilot tests in Mexico City and Guadalajara. This is a service that allows users to connect with public transportation. We want Uber to be the everyday platform for mobility, whether by using a taxi, a ride, public transportation, a motorcycle, or when moving from one city to another; we want to be there. As COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will adapt to any new needs.
On a personal note, the future of mobility for me is when we start detaching from our personal vehicles. Some studies point out that millennials prefer not to buy a vehicle and use Uber instead. New generations have this incentive to say no to vehicle ownership. Humanity is focused on reducing carbon emissions while developing sustainable and livable cities. In this context, sustainable mobility means that with a single button you can find the alternative that best fits your needs.
Q: What were the results of the recently introduced Uber Pass?
A: Uber Pass has been really successful for us despite the pandemic. With an MX$119 (US$5.94) monthly subscription, the user can enjoy discounts and free deliveries on Uber Eats and discounts on rides. We will continue to experiment with different alternatives to care for our users. This is one further step to make the platform more accessible and to expand our presence in Mexico.
Q: What are Uber Mexico’s priorities for 2021?
A: Our top priority is to reach more and more Mexicans and to meaningfully contribute to sustainable mobility. The country continues to be one of the most relevant countries for Uber at the global level. We want to deliver accessible and secure mobility for everyone, reducing all obstacles to access the platform. while offering attractive profit schemes for partner drivers. We are also looking to integrate more women into the platform, having launched ‘Ellas’ (a feature that allows women drivers to receive only trips with women riders) first in 10 cities and as of January 20, we announced the expansion nationwide. Today it is available in all cities where Uber operates in Mexico.
Uber Technologies is a US company based in San Francisco that provides transportation and mobility services in over 80 countries. In Mexico, the company has operations in 44 cities.