Ola-Uber effect: Mumbai-Pune cool cabs to now run on city roads
Illegal private cabs operating on the route started eating into their business, which worsened with the entry of app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber.mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2017 16:52 IST
With their business hit by Uber and Ola, the 45-year-old blue-and-silver AC taxis that ran only on the Mumbai-Pune route have now got permission to operate in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
The state transport authority (STA), chaired by transport secretary Manoj Saunik, recently gave its nod to the decision. The 312 cabs, represented by the Mumbai Pune Taxi Owners’ Association (MPTOA), will now install electronic meters, giving the city one more cool cab service.
Jagdish Singh, 75, president of MPTOA, said, “Those not doing well on the Mumbai-Pune route can at least drive their cabs locally.”
Operational since 1972, the Mumbai-Pune taxi service was the fastest, reliable and a safer mode of intermediate public transport, given the limited numbers of trains and state-owned buses on the route. The number of taxis on the route and the fares went on increasing. Soon, the black-and-yellow taxis become air-conditioned blue-silver cabs.
According to the MPTOA, their business started to take a hit after several trains were introduced between Mumbai and Pune. The state-owned public transport undertaking improved the Shivneri bus service after 2005.
Illegal private cabs operating on the route started eating into their business, which worsened with the entry of app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber.
“Earlier, we used to get at least 15-20 trips a month, but now it has come down to 5-6. The taxi drivers are earning less than Rs10,000, making it impossible to survive,” said Singh.
Of the 397 permit holders, 312 are associated with the taxi service that charges Rs475 for a person travelling from Mumbai to Pune. “Illegal taxis charge Rs200-300. Who will travel in our taxis, if people get to travel in Mercedes and Jaguar for cheaper rates,” asked Gulhasan Khan, 60, who is driving Mumbai-Pune cabs since 1985.