Two of Mumbai’s taxi unions (the Mumbai Taxi Association & Mumbai Taximen’s Union) are working on an app through which users can book black and yellow cabs, and will be launched by month end, reports TOI. According to the report, both the unions have 20,000 taxis, while overall, there are 35,000 taxis in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The app will be called 9211 (Taxi no 9211, anyone?) and have tracking and an SOS button for police response during an emergency. TOI cites that the unions will ask all black and yellow taxi drivers to sign up on the app. The app will supply cabs at government approved fares, with a service charge of Rs 5 for a fare of Rs 50-100 and Rs 10 for fares above Rs 100.
The company which developed the app will also create background checks, obtain driver permits and check badges of taxi drivers before they onboard them. It will also train drivers to use the app and accept cash payments initially, with plans to add online payment options.
Interestingly, there’s a cab booking service called KaaliPeeliCabs.com in Delhi that allows commuters to book the traditional city cabs. It would also be interesting to know if traditional taxis will be able to take advantage of surge pricing, the mechanism of fares going up when demand is high.
Ola’s entry in the traditional taxi segment: In October 2014, online cab aggregator Ola added 2,000 traditional taxis to its platform in Mumbai. The company planned to extend this service across the city by October 2015, bringing 20,000 taxis on board, but seems to have managed only 3,500, as indicated by the TOI report. In August, Ola added 1,000 of Kolkata’s yellow taxis on its platform with plans to register 5,000 taxis by November 2015.
2015 was a big year for offline businesses which protested against their online counterparts:
– In July, self drive car company Zoomcar issued an 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.
– In August, online cab aggregator Uber’s cars were vandalised, drivers assaulted and mobile phones taken away in Pune and Mumbai, by some groups of people who wanted only those applicants who had lived in the state for over 15 years and could read and write Marathi to ply Public Service Vehicles. This incident was 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 stated that as many as 150 cabs were damaged in violence.
– In the same month, a part of Uber’s Hyderabad driver base protested incentive cuts. Telangana Cabs and Bus Operators’ Association president Syed Nizamuddin alleged that drivers were not earning the promised Rs 70,000 monthly due to reduced number of trips and incentive slashes.