Ola, Uber, Meru and a plethora of other small big cab companies have flooded the Indian roads offlate. They are dominating the app taxi space and promising you a mode of transport at the click of a button! If you are a regular taxi user, you won’t remember last when did you travel in an auto rickshaw. The convenience of cabs has almost wiped out the need for any other mode of commutation.

Funded by rich VCs the cab companies have broken the market with rock bottom fares. If observed closely, you will realize these are not mere cab operating companies but a sort of technology giants relying heavily on internet based technology and complex algorithms. Undoubtedly therefore more and more new customers are getting added to their base every single day.

The demand for these taxis have gone so high that no number of taxis plying on the road are enough. Most of us are aware therefore about “surge pricing” during peak hours. On an ordinary day the Indian-ness in us would not allow us to pay a higher than normal fare but even then most of us do settle for it, reason being, we are done with the hooliganism of the auto rickshaw drivers. We choose to put our foot down to their ruffian behaviour.

So to think of it, these cab companies have come to our rescue when governments turned a deaf ear.

“Combined between Ola & Uber alone more than 10 lakh taxis are plying on the roads in more than 110 cities of India!”

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Business Proposition For The Cab Drivers

There are huge hoardings put up on the streets boasting of cab drivers earning as high as Rs. 75,000/- per month! And that is much more than what many white collar jobs could give!! Its the money therefore which has transformed the ordinary cab drivers’ life. They now realize the importance of driving well, behaving well, maintaining the car well and being professional than ever before. Yes the rapes have not been oversighted, they are discussed in a separate topic all together.

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Silver Lining for the auto rickshaw drivers

To not leave out the auto rickshaw drivers from benefiting, Ola has reached out to them as well. The offer is simple get in line or get wiped out. Whichever driver was smart enough to intercept the wind of change has got onboarded while others are still whining and resisting change!

Auto Rickshaw’s Revolt

To put this in perspective is also news from Hyderabad, on November 3, 2016. The auto rickshaw drivers union called for a bandh while filing a petition against Ola and Uber in the High Court. Their complaint was against the deep discounted fares & high bonuses which was leading to ‘uneconomic competition’ against autos they say. While this bandh was not a remote incident, for the same has happened in many other cities as well but what’s noteworthy is, none of these protests have gained any steam and no government has paid much heeds to their demands whatsoever.

The companies have done a great job of aggregating these autos and cabs without buying them out. It retains their independence over their work schedules. But the question still remains, why are the auto rickshaw drivers still detesting & protesting when they too can join these cab giants?

Here are some reasons why –

Payments

Delving deep into the payments, it has been reported that in most cities Ola and Uber have been cutting down incentives for drivers. With the rising popularity and demand for breaking even, its time for the companies to think about bottom line. They were paying out incentives to drivers for signing up on their platform but now that the apps have become popular the companies are cutting back on their expenditure. This reduces the profit of the drivers considerably.

Low fares

To attract customers on to the app, these companies were offering low rates. However now that the incentives have dried up the low fares are unsustainable. Moreover in the long run they won’t be able to charge higher if customers get used to the low rates. Currently the customers are benefiting from the low fares but it is questionable if the customers will continue using these services if the deep discounting and low fares are taken off.

Poor Settlement Ratio & Turn Around Time

Most of the cab drivers complain that the payment made by the customers through non cash modes are settled only after 2-3 days. Also, the final amount is generally always less than what the drivers might be anticipating. A gap of 2-3 days means driver has to meet the running cost from his own pocket which in many cases may not be an attractive proposition for them.

Apart from this, general lackadaisical attitude among the auto drivers in India, where they have become very lazy to take on business even if it in their face is a reason why many are choosing to get wiped off than survive!

So the reasons are many but the hard working drivers are taking up this opportunity as long as it lasts to make it worth, for a better lifestyle.

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