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Updated: Zoomcar & Myles advise caution after Ladakh taxi union revolts against self-drive rental cars

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Myles, the self drive car company division under Carzonrent, wrote to us:

It is very unfortunate to learn about such incidents of vandalism. However, MYLES have not reported any such incidents relating to our car and our services have not been derailed. As a practice, we are pre-informing about the situation to every Myler (our customers) who is planning a trip to Leh and Ladakh and are advising them to use local transport for commuting inside Leh and Ladakh. We have a standard policy in the case of damage and accident which and is neutral across all travel destination. Also all our cars come insured.

Yesterday: Self drive car company Zoomcar has advised its users to exercise caution if they’re planning to or travelling to Ladakh. Travel blogger Dheeraj Sharma writes on his website DevilOnWheels that the taxi union of Leh-Ladakh has issued warnings against going into and out of the region in a self drive car.

The rule, which the site claims that taxi union has forced since 16 June, states that people cannot take any rented self drive car to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tog and Tso Moriri. The unions allege that big business houses are ‘exploiting the tourism potential of Ladakh’ by engaging in ‘malpractices such as private hired vehicles, self drive vehicles and motorbikes for commercial purposes’. They write about sustainable development and the exploitation of tribals. Find the entire notice here, sourced from Team BHP.

Zoomcar displays this for users travelling to Ladakh on its website:

Advisory:

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Seemingly the taxi union in Ladakh is not permitting non-local vehicles from plying to certain destinations and tourists are being forced to use the services of local cab operators. In lieu of forced restriction put forth by local taxi union, we advise our customers to exercise caution if they are travelling to Ladakh and plan accordingly.

We asked Zoomcar if it had faced any issues in the region and what their plan of action and liability were in case a violent/destructive event took place, this is what co-founder and CEO Greg Moran told us:

At Zoomcar, we certainly don’t condone violence or abusive behavior in any way. We encourage all our customers to proceed in the Leh Ladakh area with caution.

Zoomcar hasn’t faced issues as such in Leh with our vehicles. In most cases we find our customers taking care in that area. Again, we urge our customer to be extra careful in and around the area. In the event a car is damaged, Zoomcar would work with the customer and the local authorities to best uncover what happened and then look to resolve through an offline settlement.

Ultimately, Zoomcars obligation rests with the customer and we will always honor this piece.

Here is the email Zoomcar had sent its users on July 7:

zoomcar email

Last week, 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. The user ‘ashnd’, ended with “This has been a truly harrowing experience that we will never forget. I would advise extreme caution when travelling to Leh in the near future even if going by private vehicle. Please do not even consider taking a self-drive rental to this part of the country under the present circumstances.”

MediaNama’s Take:

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About a month ago, at the time of the taxi and autorickshaw strikes happening in Mumbai protesting against taxi and rickshaw booking apps like Ola and Uber, we’d written about how the battle between traditional and online businesses would intensify. This is another such example of the same in action and there is no doubt that we expect to see more of this in the future. The Leh Ladakh taxi union alleges that self drive cars and taking revenue away from its traditional/local businesses, where business happens only in the 5 months of the season Ladakh is open.

What many traditional businesses argue for is essentially regulation to bring Internet businesses down to their own level, because security is an easy and convenient issue to flag. We should not regulate for the worst case scenario or for the convenience of regulators over consumers. We need less of a regulatory burden on businesses and not more.

*

Also Read our recent two part interview series with Greg Moran, co-founder and CEO of Zoomcar:
– Part 1: It is better to have deep presence in fewer cities than having 10 cars in 50 cities
– Part 2: One of our largest challenges is the payments system in India

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Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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