Left in the lurch

Cab woes

Left in the lurch

Since cab services became an increasingly popular transport option, there arose woes connected to these services. While most opt for these services over autorickshaws in the city, there have been times when they have had to resort to other options, as cabs are either unavailable, charging high peak time charges or just not willing to go to the desired destination.

Though a crackdown on peak hour surge pricing and tracking licenses of certain cab services is on from the Transport Department, the consumers have their own share of issues with the providers. Shruthi Udhaykumar, an architect, who uses cab services everyday, says that she was asked to pay cancellation charges for cancelling a cab which didn’t reach on time. “Thankfully, I didn’t have any money on my cab application e-wallet and I didn’t pay the fine. The worst part is that the cancellation charges are also levied according to the peak time.”

She says that it is a ride to hell many times, especially when it is raining heavily. “There is no way that the drivers accept a ride request. They often wait for the application to show increased rates. Another issue is the driver refusing to drive to certain locations,” she says. Shruthi adds that there are also times when the application shows that the cab is just a minute away, but takes forever to come. “I use these cabs because I don’t want to be late for work, and they become a reason for me reaching late sometimes.” 

Rains are an added issue, agrees Jasmine Sangma, an HR manager, who travels from Koramangala to Infantry Road daily. She says, “Peak charges are so high that I would rather travel by an autorickshaw. There have been instances when the driver cancelled the ride when he heard the drop destination. There have also been times when I have waited for a cab for an hour and still not got one.” She usually hails cabs in the mornings and has noticed that even shared rides can be costlier.

“It looks like surge pricing is withheld at the moment but making this permanent would be good. There are umpteen reasons people choose cabs including safety. So a check from the Transport Department to stop these charges or put a limit on the number of times they can be multiplied by the original fare would be a good step.” Suhas Sriram, a businessman who uses cab services often, says that he has had to wait a long time before he got a cab from Kengeri to Jalahalli Cross.

“Firstly, the cab reached late and then when the driver heard the end destination, he asked me to cancel the ride request and offered to send another cab, if required. I told him that I was willing to pay extra. I was travelling with my family and got so frustrated that we took an autorickshaw,” vents Suhas.

Arvind Kumar, another professional, is happy with how the cab services are convenient than earlier but he adds that a fixed pricing system would make things better. “Peak times charges at 2 pm don’t make any sense. A standard rate of cab fares needs to be applied. Sometimes, even the shared ride rates don’t make any sense,” he says.

Eswari, a post-graduate student, who stays near Electronic City, says that she has even been asked to get off halfway during a ride. “He wasn’t ready to go to the end destination and I had to book another cab.” She says that an increased regulation on the drivers’ profiles and their licenses will also help the situation. Sensitisation of cab drivers should be made mandatory from the cab provider’s end, says Eswari.

“There have been plenty of times when I have had to wait for a cab, when hailing from Electronic City or even within CBD limits. Many drivers just refuse, over the call, to know further details. There are others who have requested me to cancel the trip as they are afraid about bad ratings. Many of the drivers have a poor sense of using the cab mobile application too, and often I have to tell them the route.”

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