Tired of not being able to incite a response from either the cab-aggregating companies or the Transport Department, Ola and Uber drivers in Bengaluru are now thinking about introducing their own app.
According to Tanveer Pasha, President of the Ola TaxiForSure and Uber Drivers’ Association, the drivers were slated to discuss the app’s logistics with former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on March 1 at Freedom Park during the hunger strike.
“He has offered his support for the project but we were unable to discuss it with him as he fell ill,” Pasha added.
Heads of various drivers’ unions have formed a core-committee, which will ensure that the app is launched successfully.
“The app will be ready in a month and we are working on other logistics like office space and also hiring people for customer service, among other things. As of now, 8,000 cab drivers are supporting this idea,” Pasha added.
Drivers say the app will be funded by Kumaraswamy, and the JD(S) leader has promised the drivers help in hiring engineers to develop the app.
“Kumaraswamy told us not to bow down to the rules laid across by foreign companies and be our own masters. We have only 8,000 drivers to support us and we are sure to gather the support of many others in the city,” Pasha added.
Pasha said that the drivers’ strike is still on and although half of them have gone back to work, the other half is still protesting the dynamic pricing and many other issues.
“Most of the drivers who went back to work were those who had leased their vehicles. Ola and Uber had bought many cabs and had hired drivers after promising to give them the cars if they drove for the companies for a certain number of years. They had no other choice but go back to work,” Pasha added.
While some drivers welcome the move, others are apprehensive about its success.
“The reason why Ola and Uber are successful is because of the cheap fares. The app that is suggested by the drivers’ unions will work only if all the Ola and Uber drivers begin using the new app. This is what I feel because, no matter how many strikes and how much negative publicity these companies have got, customers still go back to them,” said Syed Tuglaq, an Uber driver.
While Syed is apprehensive of the proposed app’s success, a few others like Mohan GS hope that the taxi-aggregators will offer better incentives to drivers to retain their services.
“Ola and Uber may offer better incentives if this new app comes out. I hope so because, unlike a few drivers who have the freedom to support the new venture, some drivers like me cannot. I have still not completed my lease period for this Uber cab. If I have to get out of this situation, I will have to work for Uber for another three years,” Mohan said.