Taxi unions launch their new & improved booking app ‘Aamchi Drive’ to compete with Ola, Uber

Taxi unions launch their new & improved booking app 'Aamchi Drive' to compete with Ola, Uber 2
Unlike their app-based competitors, there would be no surge pricing on Aamchi Drive

After failing to woo customers with their first attempt, Mumbai’s taxi unions have launched their new and improved app, Aamchi Drive, which will allow commuters to book black and yellow taxis in the city.

The app will be formally launched today by Transport Minister Diwakar Raote.

With Aamchi Drive, commuters will be able to book both AC and non-AC taxis the same way they book cabs on Ola and Uber.

However, unlike their app-based competitors, there would be no surge pricing. Instead, a fee of Rs 5, over and above the regular fares, will be levied on every booking made via the app.

A few key advantages of booking rides via the app are:

* No fare refusal – The app addresses one of the biggest concerns commuters have while opting for black and yellow taxis.
* Estimated fare – Like their competitors, the app displays an estimated fare for both AC & non-AC cabs before booking.
* Pickup from doorstep – Commuters will be able to call for a cab from the comfort of their home or office.
* Easy payment – Commuters have the option of paying for their rides via cash or mobile wallets.
* Panic button – The app features a panic button which can be used in case of emergencies.

At the time of launch, over 2,000 taxi drivers affiliated with Mumbai Taximen’s Union and Mumbai Taxi Association will reportedly be offering rides. In total, there are over 40,000 black and yellow cabs in Mumbai.

The app, available on Android and iOS, was developed by Sun Telematics Private Limited. The Bangalore-based developer has tried to keep the booking process functional and similar to existing apps.

Taxi unions launch their new & improved booking app 'Aamchi Drive' to compete with Ola, Uber 1
The app is functional and the booking process is similar to that of Ola and Uber

Commuters simply have to go through a one-time registration process before they can book their first ride.

This is the second time unions are launching an online booking app to compete with their venture backed competitors. Their previous app, called 9211 taxi app, was launched two years back.

Although the app had gained traction during the initial stage, the booking process was far from seamless, and both drivers and commuters eventually lost interest.

While one can easily make out the cosmetic changes in the new app, it is difficult to pinpoint how ‘Aamchi Drive’ will succeed where its predecessor failed.

Having said that, if the unions are able to capitalize on the early traction and keep keep commuters happy, the growing dissent among Ola, Uber drivers over declining incentives and new permit regulations may act as a saving grace.

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