Cab aggregators have certainly made life easier for customers, who now have the option of travelling right at their fingertips. However, a look at the other side of the coin tells us that cab drivers across the country now have to choose between either joining the community and following its rules, or getting isolated in face of superior technology and massive capital backing.
However, this time a group of kaali-peeli cabbies from Mumbai have joined hands and are readying themselves to take upon the likes of Uber and Ola with their own app.
Mumbai has witnessed members of the 35,000+ strong community of traditional kaali-peeli taxis decide to embark upon doing their own thing. The two largest taxi unions from Mumbai have come together, and launched an app called 9211, which they say will provide users with transport services upon their doorsteps.
Similar to how Uber and Ola manage things, 9211 will also allow users the facility of locating and booking cabs near them. Whats more, the cabs will operate at government approved rates, which are usually quite competitive.
Speaking on the topic, Prem Singh, leader of Mumbai Taxi Association said,
All kali-peeli drivers (totaling 35,000 in MMR) will be asked to enroll for the app, which ideally should be used by customers to book taxis across the city
The app is expected to be state of art and come with safety features — such as SOS button and GPS tracking — while all movements of the attached cabs are to be monitored via a centralized control room.
All in all a good move — certainly heaps better than demanding to ban aggregators — and one that will see the competition, and as a consequence the quality of the services, in the sector rise manifold.
The numerical advantage lies clearly with the cabbies. While Uber/Ola can field a total of 14,000 cabs in Mumbai,there are 35,000 kaali-peeli taxis there. However, numbers aren’t everything and a lot will also depend upon whether or not the unions can match, and perhaps outmatch the professionalism and innovation brought to the niche, by the said companies.