Customers dumping solo rides, getting onto pooled cabs

Many commuters of BMTC Volvo buses prefer taking cabs as a last-mile connectivity option. High cab fares could affect them

Rates are up, and patrons are feeling the pinch. Whether you ride Uber, Ola, or—more likely—a mixture of the two, riders from across the city are paying more for the same. While some have noticed the gradual increases over time, others have felt the uptick in just the past few weeks.

“Previously, I travelled for around 8 to 9 kms for Rs 150. But now it has gone up to Rs 220-230—a hike close to 30%,” says engineer Loyan Voisan Dosuza, who has seen the price going up over the last one month.

Dosuza first started using Ola about one and a half years back. “In the beginning, the prices were much lower. Even during the morning peak time, at 8 am, travelling 13-14 kms would cost about Rs 160-170. But today, it cost me close to Rs 220 for only 8 kms and 40 minutes of travel,” he says.

Friends Shruthi Raju, 28, and Vanitha Shakthi, 26, are also struggling to reconcile their budget with recent trends. “From M G Road to my home, Uber used to charge me just Rs 30. But in the past two weeks, they are charging Rs 45 to 50 for the same distance. It is getting tough,” says Shakthi.

Raju echoes her thoughts, adding, “As we are students and working people, we budget ourselves to the salary we get. When we know the price is high, we prefer to travel by the Metro.”

Some riders, however, have decided to give up on solo rides. Priya Basu, 45, plans to return to autorickshaws or rely solely on the apps’ share and pool services. “One of my regular places of visit is the Vikram Hospital on Cunningham Road. From my house to the hospital, the trip used to cost around Rs 160-180. Now, the fare at the same time (around 2pm) costs Rs 350 or thereabouts,” says Basu.

But rate increases are not the most worrying change in the riding apps for Basu. She explains, “Another annoying trend I notice is that the drivers cancel trips after they call and check the drop destination.”

Basu recalls, “I had a doctor's appointment and mum was in a lot of discomfort. I booked the cab and the cabbie called to ask destination. I said ‘Vikram Hospital, emergency.’ After reassuring me that he's coming, he made us wait for 10 minutes and then just cancelled.”

Basu is not the only one noticing this behaviour. Ethiopian student Ficow Nur, in his third year of software engineering, has been using the apps four days a week for the past three years. “I mostly like Uber. When you order Ola, they’ll call and ask your drop location. If it is far, they will cancel you,” says Nur.

For content consultant Ronita Sachdev, it is about lack of alternatives. “I will continue to take Uber because there isn’t much choice otherwise,” she says. Sachdev uses Uber once a week to visit her mother and noticed a price change about one month ago.

She explains, “From my house in Ramamurthynagar to my mom’s house in Shantinagar, I used to pay around 200 bucks, normally. That recently has gone up to about 300 bucks.”

It is not just riders who are complaining. Cab driver Ramesh Singh notes that the aggregator has reduced his pay in recent weeks and no longer gives out incentives for completing more than 20 trips in a day. With a big family at home depending on him, Singh says he now prefers the competitor that provides more incentives.

Also read: Cab rides, cheap no more

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