To raise or not to raise fares? Bangalore auto unions bicker
news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
Nayantara N| The News Minute| November 22, 2014| 10.06 am IST The low fare offers by cab companies like Ola and Taxi for Sure is certainly causing the auto-drivers some jitters. If reports are to be believed, various auto-ricksaw unions are scheduled to have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the reduction in auto fares. In the last few weeks, a small number of cab service providers have cut down their minimum fare and price per kilometre in a bid to lure customers. This has led to a stiff competition for the auto-drivers who have a higher price per kilometre. While the autos have Rs 13/km, few cab services offer prices ranging from Rs 10/km to 12/km. Reacting to rumours of Union meeting, C Sampath, General Secretary of the Adarsha Auto and Taxi Driver Union said, â€śYes we will hold a meeting on Saturday with the various auto Unions in Bengaluru and a decision to reduce the fare or not will be taken on that day.â€ťHowever, other unions seem to be clueless about such a plan. Rudramurthy, the General Secretary of Auto-Ricksaw Drivers Union, informed The News Minute that he has not been informed about the meeting nor does Naveed Khan of Nava Karnataka Auto-Drivers have a clue. Additionally, within the same union, there appears to be a difference in opinion. Manjunath, the President of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union, asks, â€śIt not possible to reduce the fare. The living costs have gone up, we must educate our children and we have medical expenses. Besides, we did not increase the fare when gas prices increased to 65, we maintained the same rate. Why must we reduce now?â€ť But his General Secretary had another view, â€śPrice of the gas may be reduced further by Rs 3-5 by the end of this month. We are also facing strong competition from certain cab services. Hence, it would be wise to cut down the fare but this can be done only after all Auto Union agree,â€ť he said. While Rudramurthy is in agreement with Manjunath, Naveed Khan believes Sampath is right. Furthermore, Manjunath throws a challenge, â€śThese cab companies look promising initially, but they will not be able to keep up their word in the long run. They are like the Reliance company, a mobile was just Rs 500 when they launched, but where are they now? We are not in the way if they want to provide good service to people, but for long will they give concessional rates is our concern? If they continue to provide service at such low rates, I will take all my auto-drivers and enroll them as taxi drivers.â€ť â€śCurrently, the company is bearing a portion of the expenses of the customer. If one day they suddenly increase the fare, will people still opt for cabs?â€ť Rudramurthy asks. But they all agree on one common issue on why customers are switching over to cabs. Auto-drivers are rude, they refuse to ply to most destinations and demand excess fare which has been main reason for the turnover. The union, they say, has been persistently advising the drivers against such behaviour during the monthly meetings, but it falls on deaf ears. Another reason why some auto-drivers are switching over to taxis is because of the incentives they are given. Few cab companies give the drivers a fixed monthly salary of 10,000 besides other incentives based on their performance. This has led to over 600 auto-drivers joining these companies under a pilot project. Vidyavathi, a home-maker recently has switched to Ola cab services. â€śThe advantage with cab services is they have a fixed price and the geo-location option is convenient. Auto drivers haggle irrespective of the time and neither do they agree to come to the destination of my choice. With cabs, there is the safety factor too. Unless auto-drivers mend their ways, they are going to suffer,â€ť she sums up. Read more at: This auto driver from Karnataka gives free rides to pregnant women You made us proud, says autodriver who refused fare from ISRO scientist The Uber, Ola and Taxi for Sure battle goes much beyond its fares
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