Bengaluru cabbies float Telegram groups to coordinate their own rides: Report

Published on Oct 22, 2022 01:08 PM IST

Cab drivers in Bengaluru are interacting with thousands of customers on Telegram groups for bookings and rides as working conditions with aggregators deteriorate.

Drivers are looking for alternatives from aggregators to avoid harsh working conditions with impossible targets and unbeatable traffic congestions. (Reuters File Photo)
Drivers are looking for alternatives from aggregators to avoid harsh working conditions with impossible targets and unbeatable traffic congestions. (Reuters File Photo)
ByYamini C S | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

Bengaluru's cab drivers have taken to running their own businesses with the help of Telegram groups where they directly coordinate with customers on bookings and rides, as the discontent over working conditions provided by aggregators and ride-hailing apps grows.

Drivers are forced to negotiate with high fuel costs, high commissions paid to the aggregator per ride -- which is said to be as high as 30 per cent -- low incentives, looming EMI repayments on their vehicles, harsh working conditions with impossible targets and unbeatable traffic congestion.

READ | Karnataka bans Ola, Uber from providing auto services

They are, therefore, looking for alternatives, especially after customers protested the unreasonably high fares which prompted the Karnataka transport department to come down hard on aggregators like Ola, Uber and Rapido, among others to stop auto-rickshaw service in the city.

There are over 10 active Telegram groups that have as many as a thousand cab drivers and several customers from Bengaluru, where they interact for pick-up and drop services and quote a rate for the same, The Times of India reported.

The publication quoted Tanveer Pasha, the president of Ola Uber Drivers’ and Owners’ Association, as saying that customers are happy as they get assured cabs compared to the app-based aggregators, which have unpredictable wait times. "Under this system, both the drivers and customers agree on the fare before the trip so that there are no issues later and there is no surge pricing," he added.

READ | Bengaluru auto unions to launch mobile app Namma Yatri to challenge aggregators

Some groups on Telegram used for this purpose are: ‘Friends Cab Service’, which has over 25,000 members, and ‘A1 cab’, which has nearly 18,000 members.

Auto unions are also looking to launch their own mobile apps, such as ‘Namma Yatri’ and ‘Rook’, which are set to become operational in November.

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