Online taxi hailing application Uber has called for support from its users after incidents of its cabs being damaged, drivers assaulted and Uber-issued mobile phones being taken away have been registered in Pune and Mumbai, by some groups of people. This comes at a time when Uber is planning to invest $1 billion in India to primarily improve its operators, expand to other cities, develop new products and payment solutions and set up a better support network.
PSV badges only to MH domiciles or Marathi speakers
Uber claims that the ‘politically motivated groups’ have threatened to shut down aggregator services in the city after issuing strikes and are aiming to pressurise the government to pass laws against the aggregator industry in the state of Maharashtra. The group’s rules state that: ‘Public Service Vehicle’ badge will be issued only to those applicants who
- have lived in the state for over 15 years and
- can read and write in Marathi
Fare restriction will lead to higher fares
The company says that thousands of drivers being forced to stay off the roads, adding that the proposed fare restriction will lead to artificially created fares, decreased availability of its cars, decreased jobs and earnings for drivers and reduced transport options in Mumbai suburbs and neighbourhoods where taxis don’t ply.
Open to engage in dialogue for regulations
Uber claims that 34.2% of its trips in Mumbai either begin on end in the Mumbai suburban area, based on a random selection of 50,000 trips taken between its launch date and 5 August 2015. The cab aggregator also said that it stands by government created regulations for cab aggregators and is willing to engage in dialogue and consultation for regulations.
Mumbai taxi and auto strike
This is basically a repeat of what happened in June: taxi drivers and auto rickshaws went on strike protesting against apps like Ola and Uber. A TOI report from June stated that as many as 150 cabs were damaged in violence and incidents of regular cabs overcharging were reported after cab aggregators did not ply their cabs in the city.
Zoomcar’s advisory for users in Leh-Ladakh
Late last month, Zoomcar issued advisory to its users after the taxi union of Leh-Ladakh started damaging cars and threatening users of self-drive cars from entering the area. It said that all outside cars (even personal cars) were being restricted from entering Leh. “Cases of violence, including manhandling and stone pelting, have also come to light.” This, despite the fact that Zoomcar has a commercial vehicle designation which allows its users to drive anywhere in India without a special driver’s license of badge.
If cab aggregators do not have the option to co-exist with traditional taxis, consumers will not only have limited transport options, but also no say with respect to fares. We’re going to continue to repeat what we said: the battle between traditional and online businesses is only going to intensify. We’re seeing this manifest itself in multiple industry segments, whether it is about online versus offline retail, telecom and ISPs versus Internet companies (read this and this), and now taxi and auto rickshaw services versus taxi booking apps like Ola and Uber.
Our Uber coverage here.
Image Credit: Uber