Ola, Uber, Meru and many such similar companies have changed the paradigm of public transport in India. They are dominating the app taxi space. If you are a regular taxi user, you would have forgotten by now 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 just mere cab operating companies but a sort of technology giants relying heavily on internet based technology and complex algorithms. Undoubtedly, therefore the customer base is every increasing.
A New Habit
The demand for taxis have gone so high that there is always a shortage of availability. Most of us are aware of “surge pricing” during peak hours and yet we pay because we are done with the hooliganism of the old world. In the world public transport in India will be ruled by customers. Yes we choose to put our foot down to the old world’s hegemony and ruffian behaviour.
Combined between Ola & Uber alone more than 10 lakh taxis are plying on the roads in more than 110 cities of India!
What lures 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!! It is the money therefore, which has transformed the public transport in India to something unimaginable. Money and the corporate touch has enabled us to experience a well trained & well mannered cab driver. This would not have been possible if we had continued to rely on government to bring about a change.
What about the metered taxi and auto rickshaw drivers?
To not leave them out, Ola & Uber 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 of app companies. They believed, this was leading to uneconomic competition in the public transport in India. While this bandh was not a remote incident but what’s noteworthy is, none of these protests have gained any steam. No government has paid much heeds to their demands whatsoever.
The taxi aggregating 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 –
It has been reported that 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 for drivers to sign up but now focus is on curtailing expenditure. This move reduces the profit of the drivers considerably.
To attract customers on to the app, cab 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 case is a pocket pinch.
Apart from this, there is a general lackadaisical attitude among the auto drivers in India. Their ignorance and laziness is becoming detrimental to their survival in the space.
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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