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Union launches longer share-a-taxi route in Mumbai to sustain black-and-yellow taxi business

Squeezed by competition such as Ola and Uber, taxi union starts 15-km Mankhurd-Carnac Bunder route; requests permission for 25 more routes

mumbai Updated: Nov 20, 2017 16:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
For travelling on the 15-km Mankhurd-Carnac Bunder route, four passengers have to pay Rs 90 each.(HT File)

Faced with competition from app-based aggregators such as Ola and Uber and alternative transport modes coming up such as the Metro and Monorail, unions of the traditional black-and-yellow taxis and auto-rickshaws are pushing for more share-a-taxi and share-an-auto routes across Mumbai.

The unions said they are inspired by the rising popularity of ride-sharing options offered by these aggregators.

In one such effort, Swabhiman Taxi-Rickshaw Union, led by legislator Nitesh Rane, has introduced share-a-taxi services between Mankhurd and Carnac Bunder, via Eastern Freeway, the fastest road corridor connecting south Mumbai with the eastern suburbs. For travelling on the 15-km route, four passengers have to pay Rs 90 each.

It is probably one of the longest share-a-taxi routes any taxi union has introduced of late. Generally, unions prefer shorter routes, between half kilometre and five.

KK Tiwari, leader of Swabhiman Taxi-Rickshaw Union, said competition from app-based cabs and expected future competition from Metro-Mono rail lines have prompted them to look at longer routes. “The black-and-yellow taxi business on long routes is almost finished after Ola and Uber came to the city. Such share-a-taxi routes could provide better earning to the poor taxi drivers,” Tiwari said. “Passengers will get point-to-point service at cheaper rates than with app-based cabs.”

Drivers operating on these share-a-taxi and auto routes are given 33 per cent of the fare between the two points of the route as incentive, which means that they can earn 33 per cent more than metered rides on the same route if they divide the ride between four passengers. “We have already requested share-a-taxi and share-an-auto services on 25 more routes and will soon submit a list of 25 more routes, which will include inoperative share routes as well,”said Tiwari, adding that it includes routes such as CSMT to Banda, which connects the western suburb and south Mumbai.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 13:32 IST