Latin America surpasses the United States in the number of trips with the transport platform. What are Uber's challenges for its growth in the region?
Uber is the main provider of transport services through an application. Due to its great expansion throughout the globe, it arrived in Latin America in 2013 and since its inception was classified as unfair competition by the taxi sector. The presence of the company in Latin America, even with ups and downs, is very successful and promising projections in the future.
Leer en español: Uber: Latinoamérica posee el mayor número de viajes
The regional director of Uber for Latin America, George Gordon, told EFE that the company is available in more than 150 cities in 15 countries in the region. In the first half of the year, the company completed 10,000 million trips worldwide, with Latin America being the region with the highest number of simultaneous trips. The three cities in the region with the most trips were Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo.
The success of Uber and other companies that use technology thinking about the customers is to win loyal users by offering economical and beneficial transportation in areas that are badly exploited by public transport. The application has had to adapt to the needs of Latin American customers, with changing requirements from city to city, and respond to a very diverse market in terms of financial inclusion and cultural practices.
"Latin America for us, as a company, is one of the most important regions along with the United States, at this time the number of trips is already greater than the United States," said the executive.
Legislation vs. Uber
The regulations have been the key point of the debate between taxi drivers and the company. The discussion has occurred in countries such as Colombia and Argentina. However, the situation also happens outside the region. The New York City Council enacted legislation in August to freeze new driver's licenses for one year. In 2017 Uber was about to be banned in London when regulators did not renew the license to operate the application, citing security and governance deficiencies (lack of adequate background checks on drivers).
Gordon said that Uber is the first interested in technological transport platforms are regulated, but always with "modern" laws that respect the free interaction between supply and demand, and that do not establish vehicle limits or tariff restrictions u schedules.
Many changes happened for Uber in 2017, complicating the image of the company. Uber was involved in several scandals related to sexual harassment allegedly suffered by many employees. Added to other problems, this culminated in the departure of Travis Kalanick, one of the co-founders and now the company's former executive president. Now with the executive management by Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber is faced with demonstrating his changes in actions.
A wave of complaints made by women during Uber trips on social networks gave a lot of talk in the region about the company and created a bridge of insecurity when using the application. "We can not solve the situation of insecurity that exists in Latin America, but we can use the benefits of technology to mitigate it," Gordon added for EFE.
The problem of sexual harassment is real in Latin America. It is lived daily on public transport and therefore is not unrelated to the service provided by Uber. The main mechanism that the company is using is inclusion. Currently, women represent 47.1% of Uber employees in Latin America, according to their 2017 Diversity Report. This figure supports the participation of women in technology roles that increased 2.5%, while those of technological leadership increased 4.3% in comparison with the period 2016-2017.
LatinAmerican Post | Diana Ramos
Translated from: 'Uber: Latinoamérica posee el mayor número de viajes'