Kochi: The railway's bid to find an app-based cab aggregator to operate call taxi services from the Ernakulam South and Ernakulam North railway stations turned unlucky yet again.
No firm turned up as the period for submitting bids for award of licence to operate online taxi services from the stations ended on Friday. This despite the railways simplifying qualification conditions and extending more facilities to woo online cab service providers.
According to sources, major players like Uber and Ola didn't participate in the bidding as they were wary of protests from traditional auto and taxi drivers against picking commuters from inside the railway stations. Both stations had witnessed such protests for nearly four months earlier last year which scuttled the railway's plan to provide affordable and secure last mile connectivity to passengers.
After the protests died down, the railways floated tenders inviting online cab service providers in October. However, major players didn't evince interest and the contract was finally awarded to Thrissur-based Xen cabs in Ernakulam South, Ernakulam, Town, Aluva and Thrissur.
Though it started operations from Thrissur and Aluva stations, Xen cabs failed to operate services from Ernakulam South and Ernakulam Town stations even after two months which forced the authorities to retender.
"We've offered them kiosks at main platform in these stations. We wanted to make some secure arrangement to provide last mile connectivity to commuters arriving from long haul destinations, given the heavy luggage they carry," they said.
Besides these two stations, the railways had invited bids for operating online cab services from Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kochuveli, Kazhakuttam and Trippunithura....