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65% unhappy with Ola-Uber surge: Survey

mumbai Updated: Sep 21, 2016 10:18 IST
Kailash Korde

An online survey pertaining app-based taxis conducted by a consumer group in Mumbai has highlighted that 94% of commuters feel harassed by black-and-yellow taxis and auto-rickshaw drivers(HT)

An online survey pertaining app-based taxis conducted by a consumer group in Mumbai has highlighted that 94% of commuters feel harassed by black-and-yellow taxis and auto-rickshaw drivers. Even as 80% of the commuters feel that Ola-Uber offers better service than conventional taxis, 65% commuters opined that surge price levied by these aggregators is burdensome.

Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP), a non-government organisation conducted this ‘Online perception survey about app-based taxis’ between August 27 to 31, during which 76,196 commuters were surveyed. Of these, 62,691 (About 82.61%) were from Mumbai, followed by 6,547 from Thane, 3,195 from Navi Mumbai and 443 from Mira-Bhayander. Other commuters, including those from Pune, Nashik, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata were also surveyed.

Varsha Raut, an MGP member, said they will be forwarding the findings of the survey to the state transport and Union ministry of transport, besides Competition Commission of India and other concerned authorities. “The survey has highlighted the consumers’ perception regarding the quality and service they expect from their daily mode of transport,” said Raut, adding that the government should take findings of the survey into consideration while making rules for regulating app-based taxis.

Larger perception

Nearly 71,726 of the 76,169 commuters feel that taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers harass them, while only 4,443 commuters don’t agree to this. At the same time 80% commuters feel that Ola and Uber are offering better option for travel to them. When it comes to rate the willingness of drivers to ply commuters to their desired destination, 58,450 people rated Ola and Uber services as good, whereas only 1,586 and 4,103 gave the same grades to kali-peeli taxis and auto-rickshaws respectively.

But it does not mean that everybody is satisfied with the service provided by the app-based taxis. Survey also highlighted that 19% commuters were unsatisfied with the feedback system provided by Ola and Uber. Only 29% rated it very good.

The survey also revealed that 11% commuters use Ola and Uber cabs every day and 15% hail those once in a week, while 40% use the services several times in a week.

Cheaper fares is one of the main reasons for commuters switching over to Ola and Uber. The survey highlighted that 47% commuters consider that app-based taxis are cheaper than other taxis and auto-rickshaws. However, 22% commuters think that those are cheaper than all types of taxis, but expensive than auto rickshaws, while same percentage of commuters opinioned that app-based cabs are more expensive than both taxis and autos.

Surge pricing charged by app based taxis has triggered discussion on various fronts. Maharashtra government is looking to fix maximum and minimum surge fare of the cabs. The survey report suggest 65% commuters at around 49,887 out of 76169 surveyed feel that the surge pricing, in which fare of taxis hikes up to 4-5 times, when there is shortage of taxis on roads, is expensive.

In a recent meeting Maharashtra government has decided to do away with gadgets like panic buttons, e-meters and GPS-GPRS from app based taxis, in proposed City Taxi Scheme 2015, for regulating the new age taxis. However, in MGP survey 73% commuters still want physical GPS-based e-meters in app based taxis instead of mobile for calculating fare.

This is first of such kind survey conducted by any organization to know commuter feedback about new app based taxis service that gain rapid popularity since 2014 end. The survey report is crucial since, the state and the union government is in process of making rules and regulations for app based taxis after city witnessed its tussled with conventional taxis and autos.