Experiencing Uber in Bangladesh

Uber has gained much popularity since its foundation back in 2009 a UberCab. Since then it has expanded its operation in different parts of the world. In continuation to that, Uber has started its operation on 22 November 2016 creating a hype among the young generation of the country. People were welcoming Uber and excited to get on a Uber ride.

I was one of persons welcoming Uber expecting that it will be a solution to the current problems with CNG Auto rickshaws and CNG drivers. Ever since Uber started operation in Bangladesh, I have been closely monitoring Uber’s customer feedback. I was getting positive feedback from most of the customers.So I thought of getting a Uber ride myself. I  requested several times but I was unable to get a ride. My rides were either too far from my location or there were too much traffic on the roads.

On the first week of December, I had a business trip to India. I had my first Uber ride in India. During our visit in india, we used Uber for our local transportation in the city. It was way better than getting a traditional taxi cab. Upon having a good experience from our first ride, we used Uber taxi for rest of our local travels. When I returned to Dhaka airport, it wa almost 11 PM at night. I needed a ride to go home. After having Uber experience in India, I was ready to have my first Uber ride in Bangladesh. So I tried once again and requested for a Taxi. My request was responded withing a minute and my ride arived in next 5 minutes. I was extremely happy to get a ride on a such short time. I returned home safely. As it was almost mid night, roads were empty and reached home withing half an hour.

After having a great Uber experience in Bangladesh, my expectation and interest grew higher. I become interested in Uber’ operation and had several other Uber rides. I also referred Uber to some of my colleagues and enjoyed couple of free rides for referring. During my Uber rides, I did some research in Uber operation. Let me share findings of my research on Uber:

  1. Uber is more expensive than traditional CNGs but more comfortable than CNG. You can call it cheaper form of  Yellow Taxi cab.
  2. Almost all of the Uber drivers are decent and friendly. Most of them are ex-driver of different companies. Most of them lives in Gulshan or Nearby areas.
  3. It’s easier to track the driver or the customer from the Uber App. You can complain against the driver if there is any problem. It’s much safer than traditional CNGs or Taxi services. You can actually report and get back any items if you lost it in the Uber Cabs.
  4. Uber charges you for miles you have traveled and the time you occupied Uber cab. Note that traditional CNGs bill you if there is a waiting time. But Uber bills you for time even if there is no waiting time.That means you have to pay for the time you get into a Uber Cab to the point you get down. At present Uber charges you a base fee of BDT 50 Plus BDT 30 for per miles you travel plus BDT 2/minute for the time you occupy a Cab.
  5. Uber sends you a money receipt in you Email so that you can claim reimbursement from your employer when necessary.
  6. You can pay to Uber by cash or Card. If you provide card details to Uber, it will automatically charge on your card when you travel user Uber. You don’t have to pay by cash. In India, Uber also accepts Paytm (a form of mobile banking in India). May be soon Uber will accept bKash or Rocket or any other mobile banking channels available in Bangladesh.
  7. You don’t have to look for ride on the streets. You can call it from anywhere and show a area for pick you up. Furthermore, you don’t have to negotiate the fare amount with the driver. It will be auto determined after your ride.
  8. There are limited Number of Uber Cabs available in Dhaka. Approximately 200 Uber Cabs roam around in Dhaka City. Soon Uber will expand its operation in Chittagong and other major cities.
  9. At present, Uber operates just within Dhaka City and you can get Uber ride up to 12 AM in the night.
  10. As there is a shortage of Uber Cab than the demand, it takes some time to find a Uber car. At present Uber cars takes more than 30 Minutes on an average to reach the pickup point due to heavy traffic in Dhaka City. Uber bill becomes higher due to the traffic too (as the travel time increases).

To me, Uber is very much useful and offers comfortable rides. Primary challenges for uber is the severe traffic of the Dhaka City. If they somehow can overcome this challenges, Uber will become unbeatable. Another challenges for Uber is teh legal framework of Bangladesh. At present, Bangladesh Road Transport  Authority (BRTA) has imposed a restriction on Uber stating that Uber doesn’t have necessary permission to operate a taxi services. Similar restriction was imposed on Uber when it was founded in U.S. It was able to overcome that restriction and hopefully it will be able to overcome the restriction imposed by BRTA. Hopefully, our government will also understand the technological application in real live and allow Uber to operate in Bangladesh as a way out for current traffic problem in Dhaka City.


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