Bengaluru: After protests by auto and cab drivers associations against Ola, Taxi for Sure and other cab services for their reduced fares, Ola Cab Services Company has offered to employ autorickshaw drivers for a minimum salary of Rs 10,000, and make them part of their network.
Orders can be booked from their Ola smartphone app; autorickshaws will come with special Ola stickers, just like the cabs and have GPS installed, to help commuters track autorickshaws. Bengaluru is the first city where Ola is offering both cabs and autos, and has already brought 200 autorickshaws under its umbrella. Boon for commuters? Yes. But members of autorickshaw and cab associations are unhappy over losing business. Mr L. Radhakrishna Holla, General Secretary, Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association, said,
“These companies get big funds from abroad and are out to spoil the Indian market. Ola, in fact, is trying to create a monopoly.”
Manjunath from Adarsh Auto Union says, “They are giving a salary of Rs 10,000 plus Rs 1,500 as mobile charges per month, per driver. If the drivers are employed for five years continuously we are ready to accept the offer. But the company is throwing out drivers just after three to four months.
They are primarily a cab company, and they will definitely give preference to cabs while making the bookings. Besides, it is near impossible to run an autorickshaw at Rs 10 per km. If the minimum is over Rs 10 per km, people will obviously opt for cabs. Most of the auto drivers are uneducated and have no idea what they are signing on. The company is just fooling the auto drivers with big dreams.”
Mr Holla, said, “Cab operators are using the state and all-India permit vehicles to ply point-to-point taxis, which is against the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. We have pointed out the violations to the transport minister and the transport commissioner, and they have assured us that steps will be taken.”
Ola autorickshaws can be booked only through the smartphone app and not through the call centre. Company officials say that the auto drivers will be trained properly before they are allowed to take Ola passengers. Sachin, an Ola employee, said, “The fare charge as per the meter, but the customers have to pay Rs 10 towards an additional charge.” Senior officials from Ola were not available for comment. Transport Commissioner Ramegowda said that he was hopeful of a solution to the problem....