Facing tough competition from app-based aggregators such as Ola and Uber, Kaali-Peeli taxi drivers from Navi Mumbai will offer discounts on fare to commuters from Tuesday, provided they are booking the cabs through the taxi union’s app or call center.
‘9211 Cabs’, an IT company that runs an app-based taxi service for black and yellow cabs on behalf of various taxi unions, has announced a 25% discount for a journey from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai, while the discount for a Navi Mumbai to Mumbai travel will be 10%.
“Commuters will get a flat 10% and 25% discount on the fare shown on the meter, depending on whether they are travelling to Mumbai or to Navi Mumbai,” said Malay Kothari. He added that commuters will have to bear the toll cost and luggage fare.
The taxis can be hired through 9211 Cabs mobile app. One can also call 022-40029211 or send a text on WhatsApp to the number 7021718260. This is first time that Kaali-Peeli cab drivers are offering such a discount, after experimenting with it in Bandra and BKC, where they offered a 20% discount.
“The new scheme will be available to the passengers from Tuesday. It will be modified depending on the response of passengers and drivers” said Kothari, adding that the commuters would be able to avail the discount by booking cabs from anywhere in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai.
Taxi union sources said that the daily earning of cabbies had gone down. They rarely got long distance fares, which used to boost their business as compared to short distance fares. They were now offering such discounts to stay in the business.
Vijay Chauhan, 49, who has been driving a taxi for the last 26 years and is also a Mumbai Taximens Union activist, said that they were hopeful that the discount will help in bringing back commuters to Kaali-Peeli taxis in Navi Mumbai.
“We are aware that Ola and Uber has taken benefit of our weakness, but to improve the situation, we need to change ourselves and adopt a new technology. Otherwise, the situation will worsen as we have already lost 40% of our earlings Ola-Uber,” he said.
Mumbai has over 38,000 Kaali-Peeli taxis, besides air-conditioned cool cabs and fleet cabs. The drivers have been facing a tough time since app-based aggregators such as Ola and Uber became rapidly popular among the commuters since the end of 2014.
Upset with rampant refusals from Kaali-Peeli cabbies, the commuters started taking to Ola and Uber for long distance rides because of the cheaper fare, comfortable ride and ease of booking.
Fleet taxi operators such as Meru cabs and Tab Cab have already announced discounts on their fares.