App-based taxis take passengers for a ride


By Ateeq Shaikh

Drivers cancel booked trips at will, mostly arrive late and charge arbitrarily, according to passengers

When they launched their services, taxi aggregators, especially the two main players – Ola and Uber – made major complaints and promises of refusal of fare and arrival of a trip within eight minutes. Now, these app-based taxis have also adapted to “market standards” of canceling or rejecting the booked trip and arriving well beyond 15 minutes.

If a reserved trip is rejected by the driver, the wait only gets longer; it can even last more than half an hour.

“Never seen such bad Uber drivers in Bombay. Three guys canceled because I refused to reveal where I’m going. A guy shows 37 minutes to arrive for half an hour. Stuck at the airport for over an hour. It’s criminal, “tweeted Anto T Joseph after being frustrated with the ‘Uber’ service, to tweet further: “After spending 2 hours at the airport, I finally took a taxi. The flight only lasted an hour and a half.

Once a taxi is booked, it has become standard operating procedure for drivers to call the customer only to verify the details of their destination. If customers are lucky enough to have a driver who finds it convenient to transport them, they can hope to reach their destination. If a taxi driver does not get the client whose destination is convenient for him, he immediately cancels the ride, no matter how long the client has waited for the taxi.

Another problem that the public is increasingly faced with is that of aggregators of taxis charging higher rates than what they initially display at the time of booking. For example, when booking the taxi, if you are shown Rs 135 as the fare for an upcoming trip, throughout the trip, the fare would remain at Rs 135 on the screen, but at the end of the trip, the amount will rise, leaving the passenger with no choice but to spit out the figure. This is one of the most common grievances people have brought to aggregation companies, but the practice continues unabashedly.

For several months, I gave up on these companies and I directly hailed a black and yellow taxi or a car.

–Shehnaz Lokhandwala, a resident of South Mumbai

Years ago, people began to experience the violation of the “8 minute” wait time promise. Now the waiting time is endless. Even if an individual cancels a particular trip for lack of a shorter waiting time, his algorithm has occasionally offered an alternative vehicle with a longer waiting time.

“The service standard has been dropping steadily. This only reflects the monopolistic approach of these giants. They first seize a significant market share, then exploit the market to the maximum to fill their coffers. For several months now, I have given up on these businesses and directly hailed a black and yellow taxi or a car ”, declared Shehnaz Lokhandwala, a resident of South Bombay.

Even the drivers are unhappy with the heavy commission they have to share with the aggregators. “Almost a third of the fare is taken by the company, leaving us with a mouthful of the already low fare. With the increase in maintenance and fuel costs, it becomes more and more unsustainable for us, especially during these pandemic years where the total number of trips has also decreased due to the lower number of people leaving their homes or many people returning to their hometown due to work from home, ”said a driver who did not wished to be quoted.

Bombay mirror did not receive a response to a questionnaire sent to Ola and Uber on issues faced by the public.


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