Self drive car company Zoomcar has issued another update to its users travelling to Ladakh asking them to exercise caution. Zoom’s email states that “the situation has aggravated and all outside cars (even personal cars) are being restricted from entering Leh. Cases of violence, including manhandling and stone pelting, have also come to light.”
Note that Zoomcar has a commercial vehicle designation (black on yellow number plates). This allows its users to drive anywhere in India without a special driver’s license of badge. Zoomcar mentions that its users should stop at the first RTO checkpost when crossing states in India. At the checkpost, users are advised to carry their original driver’s license and the documents inside the Zoomcar car.
In the light of a video which surfaced from travel forum TeamBHP, it appears that local taxi drivers were pelting the windshields of cars, as well as damaging the car and its windows, posing threats to the safety of the car drivers.
Last week, we had reported that Zoomcar and Myles had advised caution to their users after Ladakh taxi union revolted against self-drive rental cars. About two weeks ago, a thread sparked up on the travel forum Team BHP where a user posted about an alleged incident where a convoy of 15 cars was attacked with stones and iron rods, with windows being smashed, after which they removed the stickers from their car. Despite Zoomcar and Myles’ travel advisories on their websites, it seems that that the situation has reached a stage where self drive car renters or even self owned cars cannot enter the Ladakh zone, for the sake of their own safety.
The problem with regulation of online businesses is not that it will help offline businesses perform better, but instead throttle innovation and give consumers little or no choice in any area of their life. While traditional businesses have been built with large entry barriers, higher cost structures and high regulatory compliance costs, online businesses disrupting these benefit from newer technology reducing the cost of transaction, ease of use, competition and economies of scale for lower margins per transaction. And consumers are getting warmed up to the idea of online alternatives. In light of this, we’d written how these issues could possibly be addressed by working with offline players, addressing consumer and regulatory issues. More on the online Vs offline battles in India here.
Also Read: Our recent two part interview series with Greg Moran, co-founder and CEO of Zoomcar: