Union, aggregator clash over mobile app for Mumbai cabs

Nov 07, 2015, 07:25 IST | Shashank Rao

The Transport department has issued its letter of intent to a mobile aggregator for operating a mobile app and call centre for black and yellow taxis and Cool Cabs; the Mumbai Taximen’s Union has also finalised its app

It’s a war between mobile aggregators for taxis and unions representing black and yellow cabs and the Mumbai traveller might just benefit out of it.

The state Transport department has issued a letter of intent to an aggregator called Apna Cabs operating black and yellow cabs; meanwhile, the Mumbai Taximen's Union is also ready with its own mobile app.

Also read: Black-and-yellow cabs want to take on Uber, Ola with own mobile app

In the first instance, the state Transport department has finally given its letter of intent to a Hyderabad-based mobile aggregator who had shown interest in operating a mobile app and call centre for running black and yellow taxis and blue-silver Cool Cabs.

This has been done under the ‘Call Taxi Scheme, 2010’ wherein the operator of the scheme needs to have a minimum of 1,500 cabs under its belt while there is no cap on the maximum number.

At least 30 per cent of the total cabs would be Cool Cabs and there would be a difference in tariffs for AC and non-AC cabs. The tariffs for non-AC cabs would be the same as approved by the state Transport department but there is still no clarity on the tariff for using black and yellow AC cabs.

“On November 3, the RTOs verified all 1,600 cabs under this scheme and we are waiting for the final permission to start it,” said Srikanth Lingidi, CEO, Dhanush Travelomedia Pvt Ltd that is operating Apna Cabs.

Sources in the RTO said that they have verified these cabs on which stickers have been pasted saying ‘Apna Cabs’. “But the final permission will be given by the State Transport Authority for running these cabs,” said an RTO official on condition of anonymity.

Union steps in
On the other hand, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union that represents the black and yellow cabs has also finalised its app. mid-day had first reported on July 23 (‘Black-and-yellow cabs want to take on Uber, Ola with own mobile app’) about the same.

“Our trials are already over and we are waiting for the new City Taxi Scheme, 2015 to get approved,” said AL Quadros, union leader, Mumbai Taximen’s Union. There are nearly 36,000 black and yellow cabs and 4,000 Cool Cabs in Mumbai.

This new scheme puts a cap on the total number of taxis that can be operated at 4,000. This would simply mean that irrespective of whether it’s a taxi union, or mobile aggregators like Uber and Ola, they can only register and operate 4,000 taxis at the same time.

Sources in Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) also agreed that this app for the black & yellow cabs would offer a spectrum of choices to people and the waiting time for taxis would come down.

The union members stated that fares would remain the same, but they would train their drivers to use the mobile app; members said they would outsource the task of building the app to agencies that have expertise in creating them.

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