Bengaluru: Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport has something that no other airport in the country has so far - a first of its kind, dedicated App-based taxi lane for Ola and Uber cabs that passenger can access in no time! And it's hugely popular because it’s priced at half the fare charged by airport cabs!
As the App-based cabbies virtually take over Parking Zone 2 in KIA, where the airport authority is now planning restaurants and shops as well, cab services of the Government like KSTDC cabs along with Meru and Mega cab drivers are threatening to go on strike on February 15 against Ola and Uber taxi services.
"An Ola or Uber ride from Airport to Electronic city would cost Rs 450 approximately. For the same distance, a Government cab that follow state set rates of 19.5 Rs per km, will cost almost Rs 1000. Naturally, customers prefer the cheaper option. This is having a massive impact on the business of the others," said Mr. Kiran Gowda, State President of Karunada Rajya Taxi Owners and Drivers Assosciation.
Ola kicked off the initiative 'Olazone' on May 19th last year, with Uber's 'Uzone' following suit a few days later, giving airport passengers two dedicated lanes, for a convenient commute, making available a large pool of cabs.
How does it work? The customer arrives, opens the cab app and sets the location as Ola zone or Uzone. The cabs are waiting in the dedicated lane, ready to pick up the passenger. Queue representatives help travellers find their ride, from the streamlined traffic.
“Ola entered into an MoU with Kempegowda International Airport to provide larger pool of cars with lower ETA. Special kiosks have been set at the Ola zone to help cab booking for customers 24/7. This model is there only in Bengaluru's Airport, and the City Railway Station as well," said an Ola spokesperson. The affordable fare is another major plus point of these cab services at the airport, as compared to other non app based cabs, that charge higher when going to and from the Airport.
“The fare is the same as the city rates, that is, 7 to 8 Rs per Km which is the most affordable at the Airport,” the Uber spokesperson said, adding that, " The Uber app has a built in prompt to provide instructions for the pickup such as departure level, terminal and door number. This eliminates additional time and energy spent in finding the ride. The driver can also be informed of his wait time before the next ride."
Ola's fares for a micro ride, be it a pickup or drop to the Airport, is just Rs 6 per km, which turns out to be more pocket friendly as compared to Government or Airport cabs.
The airport customers enjoy other perks like booking the cab of their size, be it sedans or XLs. Network problems are always common, when one switches on their phone in a new destination, for which Uber provides wifi access as well.
For the early bird plane travel, that leave first thing in the morning, these services comes as a life saviour for those rushing to catch their flights. Booking 30 days in advance is another feature, that could save last minute hassle.
Faceoff at the airport
Airport cabs are threatening to go on strike on February 15th, harking back to the huge disruption in December 2016, when drivers associated with Ola and Uber held a flash strike, against the low rates set by their company, from and to the airport. They complained against the low commission cut they receive, when the airport fares were highly discounted.