With the onslaught of Internet and Digital India, traditional businesses have only two options: Either adapt or perish.
Adaption is certainly a good option, but a better way is to compete heads-on with those who are attempting to disrupt the existing market. And something similar has happened in Mumbai where 35,000+ strong community of traditional kaali-peeli taxis have decided to take cab aggregators such as Ola/Uber heads on with their own app.
Two biggest taxi unions in Mumbai have come together, and launched an app called 9211, which will offer instant cab service at Government approved rates. Just like Ola or Uber, this app will show the nearest cabs available from a customer, and enable them to book it right away.
Initially, only cash payment would be accepted, but soon an online payment mechanism would be integrated.
Prem Singh, leader, Mumbai Taxi Association said, “All kali-peeli drivers (totaling 35,000 in MMR) will be asked to enroll for the app, which ideally should be used by customers to book taxis across the city”, adding, “We will provide you service at the doorstep.”
Thinking Beyond Uber/Ola
Last year, Ola had attempted to integrate these traditional kaali-peeli taxis into their own network; and even launched cash payment mechanism (early on) to lure customers. Out of 35,000 kaali-peelis, only 2500 odd decided to get included into Ola.
But unrest was clearly visible among these traditional taxi owners, as they felt that business is slipping away from them. They even attempted to strike and oppose Uber/Ola in Mumbai, and demanded a ban on them (just like traditional brick and mortar shops are demanding ban on ecommerce).
But as we had said earlier, asking for ban is not the right solution to fight a new, improved opponent.
Taxi Unions came together, and decided that the only way to fight billion dollar startups is to adapt and fight them in their own territory.
A L Quadros who heads one of the biggest Mumbai Taximen’s Union said, “To keep pace with the competition from private cab aggregators, we decided to have a mobile app of our own.”
This app will offer taxi rides as per Government approved rates (Rs 22 for first 1.5 kms); will have safety features for women such as SOS button and GPS tracking and all movements would be monitored via centralized control room.
Drivers’ background and police records would be thoroughly checked as well.
Compared to 14,000 cabs available at Uber/Ola in Mumbai, there are 35,000 kaali-peeli taxis in Mumbai. It would be really interesting to observe how the market responds now.
Will you opt for an official kaali-peeli taxi in Mumbai or go with Ola/Uber? Do share your comments right here!
Image Souce: Flickr"35,000+ Mumbai Kaali-Peeli Cabs Take On Uber/Ola With Their Own App Called 9211",