Thousands of Delhi-NCR commuters have had a rough week as hundreds of Uber and Ola cabs remained off roads in an ongoing strike by drivers of the two ride-hailing companies demanding better working conditions and pay.
While the strike, which started a week ago, is proving difficult for both Ola and Uber passengers, other app-based car services have stepped in to serve customers in the capital region who have come to rely on cabs for their daily commute. Here are some car apps cashing in on the demand:
Jugnoo, a 'hyper-local' auto rikshaw booking app, launched cab-hailing services earlier this week, introducing a fleet of 100 cars in Gurugram, in the wake of the strike. Chinmay Agarwal, COO and co-founder of Jugnoo told HuffPost India the company will focus on creating a "viable pricing model" that works for both drivers as well commuters instead of relying on heavy discounts.
Jugnoo hopes to provide driver incentives that "will be much better" in comparison to other players, said Agarwal. Jugnoo has also seen a 100 per cent increase in the use of its auto services during the strike.
App-based self-drive car rental provider Revv has seen a 40 per cent increase in its bookings during the past week, particularly on weekdays, Anupam Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Revv told HuffPost India. Its services are used widely by daily commuters who need cars for multiple rides during the day. The company provides a range of sedans, hatchbacks and SUVs, charging between Rs 600 a day to Rs 1,000 a day. It sets itself apart from other cab hailing services by providing more privacy to its customers, as well as drop and pick-up service, said Agarwal. With car ownership set to decline among millennials and urban dwellers, the company sees plenty of opportunity for growth in the coming years, he said.
Zoomcar, a car rental service which lets users geolocate a car and rent through an app booking has seen a 20 per cent increase in bookings in New Delhi alone, Greg Moran, CEO and Co-founder, Zoomcar, said in an e-mailed statement. While Delhi-NCR remains among its top three markets, the company has also seen an uptick in bookings in Bangalore, he added. Zoomcar is currently seeing an "average ticket size" of Rs 4,000, said Moran. It has also launched a "keyless entry" feature, which lets users unlock a car with their smartphone app. It also allows users to lend a car to a friend or rent it to a paying stranger by sending an access code to their phone.
Car pooling app Orahi has seen a spike between 27 and 32 per cent in rides in the NCR region, said Arun Bhati, COO & Founder of Orahi. As a ride-sharing platform, it helps match "like-minded home and office neighbours" who are travelling in the same direction.
With over 100,000 registered members from Delhi-NCR alone, and charging Rs 3.5 per km, it hopes to be a cheaper alternative to standard cab hailing services that typically charge between Rs 6 to Rs 12 per km. Orahi also boasts of helping people in expanding their social and professional circles while they ride share.
In addition to private car services, radio taxi services such as Meru Cabs and EasyCabs also continue to serve the capital. EasyCabs is also increasingly targeting office workers after losing steady market share to Ola and Uber with their cheaper services, Rajiv Vij, managing director and CEO of Carzonrent, parent company of Easycabs told Hindustan Times. "We have developed a mobile app, and the bill goes straightaway into your email, or to the office travel desk," said Vij. While Meru is reportedly banking on the steady income of its drivers to retain them and maintain regular service.
The cab strike by Uber and Ola drivers started in Delhi late last week. Leaders of driver unions told Reuters they were protesting to demand better insurance policies, shorter working hours and better incentives. Many drivers say their daily earnings have been slashed significantly in the last couple of months as the cab hailing companies have wound down generous promotional bonuses, and cut fares to gain market share.