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JD (Secular) eyes a cab ride to power as new app-based taxi service launched in Bengaluru

The service is the culmination of series of protests by taxi owners and drivers against Uber and Ola.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2017 14:04 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Janata Dal (Secular),HD Deve Gowda,Ola
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal Secular leader H D Deve Gowda claims the service will help his son HD Kumaraswamy reap political dividend. (HT Photo )

An app-based cab hailing service, Namma TYGR, was launched in Bengaluru on Wednesday, culminating a series of protests by cab owners and drivers against US-based Uber and Bengaluru-headquartered Ola.

The venture also has a political twist as it’s backed by the former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular). The party is banking on the service to take it to the seat of power after the assembly elections due in May next year.

The JD(S) is the third largest political party in Karnataka assembly with 39 MLAs.

“HD Kumaraswamy will once again become the chief minister of the state thanks to the goodwill he will garner because of this service,” the former prime minister said launching the app.

“The company has decided to give drivers a lot of benefits and it has decided to save drivers from the troubles they were facing,” Gowda said, adding his party always believed in empowering the working class.

In March, around 1,000 taxi drivers and owners had gone on a week-long protest against the reduction of incentives to partners attached to cab aggregator giants Ola and Uber.

At that time, Gowda’s son Kumaraswamy had supported the stir and assured help in forming a company run by the drivers and cab owners.

Speaking at the event, Tanveer Pasha, the leader of the Ola, TaxiForSure, Uber Drivers’ Association, said around 5,000 drivers and cab owners had already joined the platform. “The idea is to facilitate a win-win situation for both drivers and customers,” he said.

The association collaborated with the Kolkata-based start-up firm TYGR to run the service.

The company plans to provide health and vehicle insurance to the drivers, two free car washes a month and servicing of their cabs instead of monetary incentives.

The service will have fixed fares of Rs 12.50 per km for hatchbacks, Rs 14.50 for sedans, and Rs 18.50 for SUVs, with no surge pricing.

To run the operation the company will charge a commission of 12% on the charge as against 20% charged by Ola and Uber,” Pasha said.

However, the venture will not have a car-pooling feature.

Regarding the company’s structure, Pasha said the company’s management will be separate from the union. “However, all decisions of the company will have to be approved by the union,” he said.

In their search for a company to run the service, the drivers and cab owners’ association had approached several companies before settling on the TYGR.

Dipanjan Purkayastha, the founder and MD of TYGR, said the reason behind entering into such a venture in Bengaluru was the size of the market.

“From a strategic perspective, we want to hit where it hurts the most. Bengaluru accounts for 30% of the app-based taxi business,” he said.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 13:43 IST