As things are getting back to normal amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rickshaws as opposed to cabs are back in demand in the start-ups’ town, Bengaluru.
Read on to find out more…
Preference to Health Over Comfort!
For the past few years, cab aggregators had taken over the taxi-hailing market as many people found it a hassle to travel via public transportation.
However, with the pandemic all over the country and people fearing their lives, airy, minimal touch vehicles like auto-rickshaws are preferred over closed vehicles like cars. Coupled with the economic crisis, people are opting for a cheaper alternative of transportation that is rickshaws.
Many people are of the same opinion in the city of Bengaluru.
A Koramangala resident Swathy S. said, “I used to take shared cabs earlier, but now, I believe autos are safer as they are open from the sides. The only challenge is to find an auto that’s prepared to go by the meter fare.”
Another Bengaluru resident from Murugeshpalya, Sneha V. said, “Recently, I suffered a pay cut, so I am looking to save on transport. Autos work out to be cheaper than cabs. Earlier, I used to opt for carpooling or bike taxis.”
BV Raghavendra of Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union said, “Most drivers in the city have installed safety screens, and they sanitize major touch points after every trip. Autos are safer, but the demand is less compared to pre-Covid times. We are hoping that resumption of Metro services will bring more customers.”
What Do Uber, Ola Have To Say?
Recently, prior to the pandemic, both Ola and Uber had started auto rentals that offer to book an auto-rickshaw prior and also has a provision to make multiple stops, just like cabs.
The app-based cab companies also confirmed the escalating demand for auto services.
An Uber spokesperson said, “It helps riders to run errands or make several stops without having to worry about booking multiple trips. As cities open up, we are seeing the rider demand increasing, with Uber auto leading the growth for our mobility business.”
“We have more than 150 Bajaj Qute (quadricycle) plying on our platform in Bengaluru and just earlier this year, they completed 1 lakh trips. The service has been a great success, and we look forward to providing smart and affordable mobility solutions,” added the Uber spokesperson.
Ola spokesperson said, “Autos are popular in large cities and small towns for short rips and first and last-mile connectivity. As cities opened up, we observed positive uptake for the auto category on the platform across the 120+ cities, where the service is available. Bengaluru, specifically, has been among the top three markets in terms of demand for auto rickshaws, and continues to grow week on week.”
“Ola autos are widely used as they offer enhanced ventilation coupled with a protective partition screen. The service enables passengers to continue practicing social distancing,” added the Ola spokesperson.
Ola, Uber ad auto-rickshaw drivers can be seen taking all the safety precautions like installing partition screens, making masks compulsory for drivers, and riders among others.
The COVID-19 times can be said as an era of some uncomfortable yet necessary changes which were long-due in our daily routines.