Two months after launching rideshare program People’s Uber in Beijing, Uber has announced it is expanding the service to cities including Hangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. That means People’s Uber will be available in every city in which Uber operates on the Chinese mainland.
As a non-profit platform, People’s Uber matches car owners with fellow city residents, while the riders cover the car owners’ journey cost. After travelling, riders and car owners rate each other, as with an eBay or Taobao transaction. For safety and transparency, every trip’s details are logged through Uber’s app.
“Users’ positive feedback for People’s Uber has given us the confidence to expand it to more cities”, said Davis Wang, a senior executive with Uber China. Like most local competitors, People’s Uber offers subsidies to drivers to encourage car owners to join the platform, though the plan varies according to the specific situation in each city, Davis added. However, he declined to give specific operation numbers, such as how many drivers have joined the program.
The company hasn’t disclosed exactly how a non-profit ridesharing program fits into its overall business plan. But the accumulation of more users may eventually help it to transfer them to paid users.
As a company known for localized services, Uber handpicked English-speaking chauffeurs to launch a language-specific service Uber English in Shanghai last month, making it a bit easier for expats and global travellers to get around the city.