Kaali-peeli taxis now offering 20% discount to woo Mumbaikars
In a bid to compete with app-based aggregators like Ola and Uber, a group of taxi drivers have come together and decided to offer discounts to commuters on long distance fares.
Over 250 kaali-peeli taxi drivers from the city banded together and have decided to offer commuters a 20 percent discount on fares above Rs 200. For example, if the meter reading shows Rs 200, passengers are expected to pay only Rs 160.
For the time being, the ‘discounted’ taxis can only be booked from 9211 Cabs call centre and pickups are restricted to Bandra West and Bandra-Kurla Complex. Although 9211 Cabs call center is operational from 8 am to 8 pm, commuters can choose to book a cab for any time of the day, provided they book one at least 2 hours prior to starting the journey.
According to R.Sonawane, a taxi driver associated with the discounted scheme, “We are facing stiff competition from aggregators like Ola and Uber. While the unions are trying their best to get the government to regularize them, we decided to offer discounts as an immediate way of salvaging the situation and attracting more customers.”
“Earlier, both Meru and TabCabs had offered similar discounts and witnessed an increase in business. We are hopeful that the same will happen in our case. We are taking a hit on our margins and 9211 Cabs is also reducing their commission to make the 20 percent discount possible,” he added.
The discount comes in the wake of Uber announcing its ‘Mi Pan Malak’ scheme last week to encourage taxi and auto drivers across the megapolis to join its platform.
Under the scheme, the drivers can avail of offers and services through Uber’s partnerships with leading financial institutions and car manufacturers with a down payment of as low as Rs 25,000. In its statement, Uber claimed that kaali-peeli drivers rent taxis for 12-hour shifts paying as high as Rs 600 per shift (excluding CNG), an amount with with they can own a vehicle themselves.
Uber also claimed that at least 30 percent of its existing driver partners in Mumbai are ex-taxi, auto and radio taxi drivers.