Uber Technologies Inc. rolled out its motorcycle-hailing service called UberMOTO Wednesday, with a pilot project in parts of Bangkok, Thailand, according to a company statement. Two-wheeler taxis are a common form of public transport in Thailand as locals prefer them for short trips and to avoid traffic congestion.
Uber’s regional rival, the ride-hailing app Grab, already provides users the option to book motorcycle taxis in some countries, including Thailand where its service is called GrabBike.
The San Francisco-based Uber said its two-wheeler taxi service would be the “most affordable mobility option in Bangkok,” and it would aim to pick up customers within two minutes of the booking.
“Motorcycles are part of the commuting culture in Thailand. With UberMOTO, we’re thrilled to introduce a product that resonates with Thai people while creating tens of thousands of flexible work opportunities for Thais,” Uber’s Head of Asia Expansion Douglas Ma reportedly said.
Uber’s on-demand motorbike service will initially launch in parts of Bangkok — Sathorn, Siam and Silom, the company said, adding that UberMOTO would have all of Uber’s standard product safety features such as live GPS tracking, two-way feedback and the ability to share trip details with family or friends.
Wednesday’s announcement is being seen as Uber's latest move to fend off intense competition in Asia, driven by well-funded ride-hailing apps like China’s Didi Kuaidi, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia-focused Grab.
Last week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the company was losing $1 billion a year in China as it wages a fierce price war with Didi Kuaidi for market share.