Uber: The story behind the screen
It's hard to imagine someone who hasn't heard of Uber, considering, 22 percent of people in Dhaka has used the Uber app at least once, according to Uber. You can choose different types of rides, based on your need, from several available options. Their server monitors the whole ride so security, or unreasonable fares are never a concern.
But, have you ever stopped to wonder how things are behind the screen? This is what we have found out for our readers.
"I wake up early in the morning and open the app right after I say my morning prayer," said Arifuzzaman, when speaking about how Uber has changed his lifestyle.
"It's all discipline. I made myself a routine that I follow and so far, I'm doing great," he added.
Like Arifuzzaman, most Uber drivers start early, and spend most of their day on the road. They rely on restaurants and local hotels for their meals and other needs. But these hours don't go unrewarded, as they are happy with the compensation.
"I got sacked from my previous job due to budget cuts and was considering whether I should go back to my village, and then I came across Uber. On my first day, I earned more than I had hoped for. After that, the decision was easy," one of the drivers pointed out.
"I can support my family with ease and am doing better than I ever was," said Sekul Khan, who has two children going to school, and he's happy that he can afford a good life for his family.
Not just Sekul Khan, there are many others whose lives have been changed by Uber. We found an Uber Moto driver who's planning on buying a four-wheeled vehicle so he can switch to Uber Premium. All this, entirely based on his income from Uber.
Some, however, prefer to take life a bit steadier. Bimol Corraya sets out with his Toyota Corolla S a bit late in the morning, saying, "I enjoy the freedom. And I think that's the best part of working with Uber. It gives me the choice of whether I want to work today or not."
Uber has really made an impact, but sometimes, the going does get tough. The roads can be unfriendly and so can the weather.
Over the seasons, the weather creates a huge hurdle for the drivers, as well as the riders, and makes life a bit more challenging. But a large number of people have taken Uber as their full-time job, so they have to stay on point, regardless of circumstances.
With everything under consideration, Uber tends to provide the best possible service available to its riders. The drivers mentioned that they feel very safe, even at late night, because as long as they are connected to Uber through the app, they are secure. The same applies for the riders. And in case of an emergency, you can share all details of the ride with a single tap.
Uber also insists on the overall safety of the drivers and the riders, and provides helmets for everyone. The vehicles are also monitored and ensured to be in good running condition.
Dhaka is a very busy city and getting hold of a public transport here is often akin to war. The CNGs are often accused of asking hefty fares and not overly secure. With Uber, not only can you get a ride in less than six minutes, but also, they abide by the fare issued by the government, with minor changes, depending on the weather, and demand. And the best part is all this information is available before you start your trip.
"It's really difficult to find a ride that will drop me in time for class. There are no seats on the bus and the rickshaws are slow. So, I turn to Uber and it's been really helpful lately," said Ziad, a graduate student who's a regular Uber Moto user.
Within just a few years of its launch, Uber has become a popular means of moving about the city and for good reasons. It's quick, secure, affordable, and convenient, compared to other public transports.
They have recently added Uber Pool in their array of services, in the hopes that it will have a positive effect both on customers as well as the traffic. Only time will tell whether that aim will be reached, but if the success of Uber is any indication, then it too will be a big hit.
Photo courtesy: Uber Bangladesh