UberEats denies it plans to leave Sri Lanka

Imesh Ranasinghe 

Uber Eats stated it has no plans to leave Sri Lanka, even as the country is battling a fuel crisis that has left most of its riders unable to perform their services. 

In response to reports that Uber Eats is planning to leave Sri Lanka due to a fuel crisis and an increase in food prices that has led to low business numbers, Uber Eats Sri Lanka said “we do not have an idea of such” when asked about whether it plans to leave Sri Lanka at the moment.

In May, despite the fuel shortage, Uber Eats Sri Lanka announced initiatives that will help create new earning opportunities and provide a cushion to courier partners, which include the launch of bicycles on the platform for food and grocery delivery, and distributing ration kits among its courier partners.

Commenting on these new initiatives, Uber Eats Sri Lanka General Manager Bhavna Dadlani Jayawardena stated: “In these challenging times, we want to stand solidly beside our partners and use the power of our platform to support our communities. Launching bicycles as our new delivery mode for food and grocery delivery – we strive to provide support and relief to communities we operate in.” 

Uber Eats noted that it had received an overwhelming response to its pilot launch in Colombo to use push cycles for delivery. It is the first delivery platform in Sri Lanka to have introduced cycles for delivery. 

The company said that it plans to expand this to other cities in the coming weeks. While courier partners on the platform procure cycles on their own, in the wake of the current macroeconomic situation, the company also plans to facilitate flexible payment schemes through local partnerships for courier partners who need them. 

In 2020, Uber Eats India was acquired by Indian food delivery company Zomato for Indian rupees (INR) 24.85 billion as a result of its heavy discounting strategy. The company acquired operational losses amounting to INR 21.97 billion, while more debts followed, and a heavily competitive market hampered its sustainability.

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