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Maharashtra government to develop, run app for Pune autorickshaws

The government of Maharashtra is throwing its collective virtual weight behind autorickshaw drivers in Pune by committing to start a mobile app for them.

pune Updated: Feb 05, 2018 15:30 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune

Pune Autorickshaw drivers in Pune are ready to bid goodbye to two of their favourite (and customers’ worst) quirks; no traversing short distances and over-charging commuters to ply at odd hours.

The government of Maharashtra is throwing its collective virtual weight behind autorickshaw drivers in Pune by committing to start a mobile app for them.

The app is expected to make autorickshaw services in Pune completely transparent and more efficient.

Deputy regional transport officer, Sanjay Raut, said that at a recent meeting with state transport minister Diwakar Raote, the decision was taken to introduce a mobile application for autorickshaws in Pune city.

Raut said, “Presently, the plan is at a very initial stage. A preliminary survey of what is required and challenges for its functioning will be undertaken and then, an agency will be finalised to develop the app. This is likely to take some time.”

In app terms the government is at least five years too late. Four private companies are already running apps that offer autorickshaw services.

The real game changer, however, has been the entry of app-based cab services Ola and Uber.

Bapu Bhave from the Autorickshaw Federation Union says, “Earlier, rickshaw drivers used earn Rs 500- Rs 700 per day. This went down by 40 per cent when the cab services began.”

Nitin Pawar, convenor, Rickshaw Panchayat, the largest auto rickshaw union in the city, says, “There are apps developed for autorickshaws, but they have all been developed by private companies. There was never any effort from the government to develop a mobile application for autorickshaws. Presently, under the Smart City project, many rickshaw unions have been demanding that an app for rickshaws be developed by the government.”

The advantage of operating on an app created and run by the government is that drivers can directly get into the money, as against splitting the fares with private companies on other apps.

Despite the onslaught of the cab services and the competitive pricing thereof, Pune remains in many areas a ‘rickshaw city’.

There are several challenges that the rickshaw drivers will have to face once they move to their “own app”.

As commuter Nilesh Dave says, “In case of autorickshaws, the problem is firstly that most are not willing to ferry passengers over short distances and at odd hours - late night and early morning. Then, most autorickshaws do not ply by the meter and hence, over charge.”

Another commuter, Neeraj Dahiwal, adds, “A mobile based application for auto rickshaws will be very useful for commuters. Also, if the district administration takes the initiative to develop app, then commuters will not have to shell out extra cash on fares, which is important.”

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 15:29 IST