In some cities in Brazil, such as Salvador, Uber’s current bet is the “Uber Moto”, a cheaper option than the “Uber X” for urban trips. In it, a route that would cost R$ 44 in the traditional option, for example, costs R$ 26.
The novelty is not exclusive to the capital of Bahia, and is already present in 125 Brazilian cities. Despite being an excellent business opportunity for the brand and a more accessible form of transport for consumers, the new model opens up the precariousness of Brazilian transport and the reduction of the population’s purchasing power.
In recent months, we’ve seen the standard of app vehicles drop. With older and less technological cars. Many drivers, with their reason, refuse to use the air conditioning to save fuel. Even without the comfort and safety of the past, the cheapest options for transport apps are still expensive for most Brazilians.
Around the world, Uber invests in different transport alternatives, offering electric cars, car rentals, long trips between cities, luxury SUVs for six passengers, cars adapted for people with disabilities, among other modalities.
But, as a matter of strategy, Brazil is not contemplated with these options. Perhaps because of the lack of vehicles and drivers willing to perform the functions, perhaps because it would not be possible to arrive at an affordable price for the population, which would guarantee a profit for the driver and the platform.
This is where the economic moment of the average Brazilian becomes clear. Instead of ascending, with more dynamic and comfortable service options, you need to give up comfort and safety to fit transport into your budget.
Despite Brazil experiencing a moment of deflation, driven by the reduction of taxes on fuel, from March 2017 to March 2022 the real lost 31.32% of its value and purchasing power.
In addition, apart from the fuel bill, there is still an increase in the prices of basic items for Brazilian consumption, eroding the income of families, especially the less affluent. With less purchasing power, it remains to lower the standard of living to fit the budget. The biggest proof of this scenario is to have multinational companies allocating products and services of less and less added value to the country.
Having cheaper service options available is always a victory, but in the case of the popularization of passenger transport on motorcycles, what is frightening is the increase in people’s exposure to accidents. During the pandemic, the number of motorcycles on the streets increased due to the demand for deliveries, along with the number of accidents.
According to experts, accidents involving motorcycles kill 16 times more per kilometer traveled than other modes. Information from the Brazilian Traffic Medicine Association (Abramet) shows that motorcycle accidents represent 54% of all traffic accidents in Brazil, even though only 22.1% of the fleet is composed of motorcycles.
In 2020, the last year analyzed, 79% of the compensation paid by the DPVAT Insurance went to victims of motorcycle accidents. There were about 175 thousand indemnities for permanent disability. In addition, about 52,000 people were compensated for medical expenses and another 17,000 families received compensation for the death of a relative. Most of the victims were between 18 and 34 years old, at the height of their productive capacity.
With such high numbers, it is impossible not to fear the increase in the severity of accidents when part of the motorcycles, instead of a styrofoam backpack on the ride, takes another life. There are two people taking risks for economic reasons – the motorcyclist, who is already pressured by time and low income – and the passenger, who cannot afford safer transport.
According to Uber, all trips include, among other measures, the background check of partners and give users the possibility to share with their contacts the license plate, driver identification and their location on the map, in real time.
“Motorcycle trips that are made by the Uber app have been constantly using last mile trips, connecting users of the platform to modes of transport, such as bus, train and subway stations in cities. We have seen that this is a very pertinent type of use for motorcycle trips, since often the stretch can be tiring to walk and short for a car trip”, says Silvia Penna, general director of Uber in Brazil.
The company says that Uber Moto drivers have access to educational content about road safety, encouraging safe driving and respect for traffic laws.
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