Yesterday I was present at the uberAUTO launch in Bhubaneswar. At the event, Shri Anant Narayan Jena, Mayor of Bhubaneswar, told that Uber should work towards making auto rickshaw unions happy. As the tariff of uberAUTO in Bhubaneswar is almost one-third of the tariff decided by the Govt. Otherwise, they may go on a strike. When it comes to the public transportation in Bhubaneswar, auto rickshaws are a staple. So, if auto rickshaw unions go on a strike, it will be a problem.
I don’t agree with the mayor that uberAUTO’s tariff is almost one-third of the Govt. tariff. If you are riding with uberAUTO, then you need to pay Rs. 15 as base fare and pay Rs. 1 per minute during your ride. Only the Rs. 3/KM sounds cheaper. So, uberAUTO’s tariff model is more complicated than normal auto rickshaw tariff prescribed by the Govt. So, it might not be one-third of the Govt. rate. I am trying to find the tariff prescribed by Govt. Once I find that I will update this section. I guess you understand why it’s hard for me to know Govt. prescribed rate. I will talk about it next.
It’s good to know that the mayor has some concerns about auto rickshaw unions and looking for a healthy competition. But when was the last time you saw an auto rickshaw with a working meter? When was the last time an auto rickshaw charged you as per the Govt. tariff? Has the mayor taken any step to make sure that all auto rickshaws use meter and charge customers as per the Govt. tariff? So, the mayor is not concerned about citizens of the city, but the auto rickshaw unions.
Normally, auto rickshaws in Bhubaneswar charge double the amount of the actual fare as per the Govt. tariff. So, it was very hard to negotiate and hire an auto for anything. So, when Ola launched its service in Bhubaneswar, it was a relief. Even Ola costs cheaper than a traditional auto rickshaw. And it comes with many advantages. Four people can travel comfortably in an air conditioned car. And the best part is you don’t need to go to auto stand and negotiate, pay less than the average auto fare. But auto rickshaw unions never liked this idea. They attacked Ola drivers. Then Uber launched. And then there came Jugnoo. Jugnoo is like Ola/Uber for auto rickshaws only. Jugnoo is cheaper than Ola or Uber.
Now Uber launched its service for auto rickshaws in Bhubaneswar. If the auto rickshaws would have used the meter and charged customers as per the Govt. tariff, the suggestion by the mayor would have made any sense. Almost a year ago, when Uber launched uberAUTO in Delhi, the customer needed to pay the fare as per the Govt. rate in cash directly to the driver. That model could have been applied here in Bhubaneswar without much complaint.
On the other hand, shared auto service works well in Bhubaneswar and no service available now can harm it.
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