Karnataka has been a breeding ground for controversy for the likes of Uber and Ola, which are some of the hottest and fastest growing startups in both India and the world. Confusion over surge pricing, lower cost mechanisms as mandated by the State Government and change in focus towards profitability for these startups have left the drivers with a diminished income. This has inspired them to walk away from the chaos and start building their own app, which will now connect them directly to customers, and enable them to make more money and control costs by cutting out the biggest middleman in the ecosystem.
This decision was taken after Tanveer Pasha, who heads the Drivers Association in Karnataka, met with former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy during a hunger strike at Freedom Park in Bangalore. The meeting between the two yielded good results for the former, as it was decided and promised that Kumaraswamy and his associates would fund the development of this platform and provide the union with adequate amount of software engineers to run the platform. If reports are to be believed, approximately 8000 drivers have already on-boarded themselves onto this platform, and development is very much on its way.
In the words of Mr. Pasha, “He has offered his support for the project, but we were unable to discuss it with him as he fell ill. The App will be ready in a month and we are working on other logistics like office space and hiring people for customer services among other things. As of now, 8,000 cab drivers are supporting this idea.” He further expanded on his meeting with Kumaraswamy by saying, “Kumaraswamy told us not to bow down to the rules laid across by foreign companies and be our own masters.”
The widespread anger with Ola and Uber is primarily due to a shift in their compensation structure, high commission rates, slashed incentives, and longer working hours, where the drivers get the sharpest part of the stick. Their incentive structures, and loyalty programs have now exhausted themselves, and as a result price per kilometer has risen, and revenue for drivers has fallen.
However, there are still those that put their faith in these multi-billion dollar startups, by saying, “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 don’t have the freedom. If still haven’t 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 GS, Uber Driver)
Perhaps, competition does exude the best result for customers? Not so much for the companies though. It’s about to get REAL!
Source: toi, hindustan times
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