500,000 SELF-EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO BE CREATED BY DECEMBER 2018

Mexico 2018 | TRANSPORT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Federico Ranero, General Manager of Uber Mexico, on the Mexican market, unique challenges, and reducing traffic.

What is the strategic importance of the Mexican market for Uber?

We are proud of what we have accomplished in Mexico to the point where today we are the third-largest country for Uber worldwide out of more than 80 countries. We have numerous success stories in the 45 cities where we operate, with Mexico City being the second-largest one out of more than 600 cities worldwide, Guadalajara the 10th and Monterrey the 16th. We continuously see more and more people wanting to use Uber not only as a form of self-employment but also a safe, reliable, and affordable option to travel. The role that Mexico plays is essential for the global portfolio of Uber and we are excited about the future, part of which is an integrated commitment that we have made for 2018. Publicly, we committed to tripling our investment in Mexico in 2017 and 2018. We will invest a total of USD390 million. With that, we expect to reach around 500,000 self-employment opportunities by December 2018, which means doubling the current number of active drivers. What is particularly exciting about that is the 500,000 represents around one economic opportunity for every 100 people in the country's economically active population.

What challenges do you face that are unique to this market?

One of the things I am particularly proud of is the transformation that Uber is undergoing, where we used to be a US-focused company, but now we start by listening, understanding, and receiving the feedback from local users in Mexico, and then developing solutions that work specifically for them. To serve these specific needs, the challenge always starts with safety: that is the first and foremost priority and we are absolutely obsessed with safety. We have continuously implemented various initiatives to provide safety and comfort to both drivers and riders. After that comes the quality of the experience and making sure we provide what drivers and riders need from us. The third priority is accessibility, which means making sure that our technology is available for everyone, regardless of what their background is or where they live. For example, today, 40% of our drivers used to be unemployed and 70% of them were incorporated into the formal economy for the first time thanks to Uber. We have a significant percentage of drivers who only drive for a few weeks or months because they have a particular target in mind or drive for Uber only a few hours per week in their free time. Therefore we have to help them exploring this opportunity and also make our technology as friendly as possible.

How do you see Uber impacting congestion, particularly in Mexico City?

One of the most fascinating things that we go after in Mexico is transporting more people in fewer cars. After we launched uberPOOL, we compared how traffic looks like with uberPOOL trips and how it would look like if those were individual trips. In just six months we have saved globally the equivalent of 55,000 metric tons of CO2, which equates to around 10,000 vehicles per year as these vehicles are only used 5% of the time. By looking at the data in Mexico City, one out of three trips is only one way, which means they are being complemented by other transportation options, many times public transportation, since Uber serves to complement the last mile necessary to get to our destination. There are immense benefits not only by taking uberPOOL trips, which is what we try to aim for, but also in those individual trips that can also be facilitated by sharing a trip when we know that two people are going in the same direction and have the split fare functionality to share a trip with someone they know.

What other sectors in the Mexican economy have the need or opportunity for tech disruption?

We also have UberEATS, where today we are in more than 5,000 restaurants in Mexico. We have seen double-digit growth in their sales through the facilitation of technology and have even gone further by adapting the business model by having less customer-facing operations and more back-end kitchens that offer the same value proposition but are only focused on delivering meals. We also have the potential in Latin America to use the Uber model that we are testing in the US to disrupt some of the other sectors. One could be the freight and truck brokerage industry that, in Mexico, works through phone calls and we can use technology to match supply and demand in real time here. Another example are the autonomous vehicles that we are investing in, which prove to be more efficient, safe, and hopefully accessible to the masses in the long term. There are various examples all over the place and this is what Uber is passionate about: using technology to disrupt sectors of industry that could work better for the benefit of the entire population and the cities where we operate.

What is your outlook for Uber and ridesharing for the coming years?

Related to the statistic that more people not only use Uber but use it more often, an interesting finding is that around 10% of our users have either sold their cars or abandoned their plans to buy one because they know that they can push a button and get a ride in any corner of the city at any time of the day. An entire urban design can be literally transformed when we think about how cities dedicate around 30% of their space to parking spots. In the US there are eight parking spots per vehicle and if we were to put them together that would make up an area 12 times the size of New York City. It is amazing the possibilities we have to transform our cities to have less parking spots, more parks, and less congestion and contamination for the benefit of citizens.

What impact do you expect with your recently signed partnerships with AXA Seguros and Seguros SURA?

We launched a partnership with AXA and Seguros SURA in order to provide coverage to every trip in Uber. We have the best coverage in terms of liability for third parties, passengers, drivers, and contingent coverage for property damage, vehicle theft, and coverage for personal accidents. What we are really excited about is that this will not represent additional costs for either riders or drivers and this speaks of the kind of disruptions not only in our focus in the industry but in the entire ecosystem and value chain. What we are doing is innovating and we have the potential to transform the insurance industry because with the entire data and visibility that we will have of all the incidents, we can become more intelligent and data driven to manage risk efficiently and provide the best value proposition for both drivers and riders. That is what is truly impactful about this alliance.

 

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