As news broke in India that an Uber driver had been found guilty of raping a passenger, one of its executives was on-stage at the WebinTravel conference in Singapore.
The ride-sharing app's general manager for South East Asia, Chan Park, didn't discuss the outcome of the trial from the tragic incident last year (nor was he asked).
The case is likely to fuel concerns many have over the safety of passengers riding in Uber vehicles in cities around the world, and will inevitably trigger more protests from local taxi drivers who see the Uber concept continuing to erode their existing business.
Park gave out the usual eye-watering stats about Uber's growth in almost every market in which it tries to operate, but there was an interesting aspect of his appearance this week in the Asian city-state where he outlined the process the company goes through to convince regulators that it should be allowed to operate.
Essentially, this is a pitch of four parts (and the example given was based on Uber's discussions with Singaporean officials ahead of its clearance to operate in early-2013):
1) Reduce car ownership
Most cities have their fair share of issues around pollution from vehicles, plus the concept of carpooling with an Uber driver for those commuting to the same area can cut down on the need for cars being required. The company claims it is cheaper to use an Uber driver than owning a vehicle (taking into account insurance, taxes and investment).
2) Reduce cars on the road + car park land use
Singapore might not have the same problems that some other Asian cities suffer from when it comes to hyper-congestion (although it can still be extremely busy), but Uber use clearly cuts down on the number of cars on the city's streets. Fewer cars means fewer car parks - an issue that city planners would potentially welcome as the city has a high percentage of land given over to parking areas which could instead be used for something else.
3) Underserved areas + public transport adoption + underserved peak periods
Ride-sharing can connect areas of a city that are not currently available to people on existing public transport networks. It research shows that there is a high percentage of users that are taking rides to allow them get to a metro stop and then continue their journey downtown. Drivers are also able to provide "networks" of routes during busy times of the day when public transport may not be able to cope with large volumes of commuters.
4) Smart + safe mobility
The controversial element of the Uber business, especially given recent events, but it claims the rating system that that surrounds drivers can ensure there is safe transit around a city for passengers. Every route, passenger and payment is tracked and there is also no risk of monetary fraud within the system.
NB:Uber image via Shutterstock.