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Upgrade to stay relevant, Maha minister tells taxi unions

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2016 23:29 IST
Kailash Korde

Striking auto rickshaws parked at Bandra on Wednesday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

State transport minister Diwakar Raote on Thursday asked autorickshaw and taxi unions to improve and upgrade their services by using tools such as smartphone applications to give cab aggregators a good run for their money.

After a meeting with representatives of auto and taxi unions to address their concerns at Andheri RTO, Raote said, “I have suggested them to use app and install GPS in their taxis to improve services.”

Union leaders were upbeat after the meeting. AL Quadros, leader of Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said the minister assured them that the state will come up with concrete solution after Ganeshotsav.

“Let’s hope that the government will take care of our concerns,” said KK Tiwari, leader of Swabhiman Taxi-Rickshaw Union.

The minister’s suggestions come at a time when a flurry of auto and taxi strikes has crippled commuters’ lives. The latest strike on Wednesday took 80,000 autos off the roads. Unions are up in arms against aggregators and want a blanket ban, among other restrictions, on them.

App-based cabs have become popular due to their competitive pricing, better quality of vehicles and convenience of booking.

The fare refusal and arrogance of auto and taxi drivers contributed to the shrinking business of traditional vehicles, commuters complained.

Raote said unions are not against Ola and Uber, but they want regulations on them.

Mumbai has around 30,000 app-based cabs that operate under Ola and Uber, which have hampered business of 40,000 taxis and 1.05 lakh auto rickshaws.