The tough way forward

The tough way forward

With ‘convenience at your doorstep’ being the new mantra, people are getting used to
the concept of service-on-demand. Comfort and affordability are the buzzwords for these amenities which range from beauty services at home and doorstep food delivery to the one that has been in the news recently — conveyance.

However, the recent strike by Ola and Uber drivers against cab aggregators had a huge impact on the public who depends on these cabs for their commute. But it is not the first time that such strikes have been disrupting the normal lives of commuters.

“Everyone wants the comfort of being picked up from home, especially while travelling to work. Taking the public transport is a hassle and the cab strike has affected office-goers like me hugely. There is no alternative means of transport that I can think of,” says Soma Bhattacharjee, an advertising professional.

Pointing out that while she understands the drivers’ point of view and is empathetic to them, Soma adds that what she does not understand is the communication gap between the drivers and the cab companies. “When a driver gets into this business, it is obvious that he will have a knowledge and understanding of all the rules and clauses put forward by the company. If they had agreed to all of these, then why are they creating issues now?” questions Soma.

Many people are opting for these cab services which clearly shows the rapid rise in the demand from the past few years. However, with such frequent strikes, carpooling is turning out be one of the most favoured and flexible modes of commuting.

Radhika Singhania, a chartered accountant says, “Carpooling is  cheaper and at the same time, proves to be environment-friendly. With increasing traffic in the city, carpooling is one of the most sustainable and sensible modes of travelling. Which
is why I am ready to adjust with the extra time it consumes.”

Radhika, who commutes by cab, says that she has been affected badly by the strike. Some drivers accept her request but give her a waiting period of 40 minutes.

“Moreover, they hike the fares, which turns out to be extremely expensive on a daily basis. This is the reason why I started travelling by auto. But  auto drivers have their own stipulations. They take the longer route and never go by the meter,” she complains.

She says that since the Metro is not well connected, that is not an option either. Having to deal with this situation on a regular basis, she now plans to buy a scooter which will help her cut down on her expenses.

Carpooling has been experimented with in Bengaluru for quite some time. There are many companies and people who are trying to promote this concept, but for various reasons, it has not picked up. “The foremost thing  is to change the mindset of people and convince them  that it is a safe, convenient and efficient mode of travel,” says Soma.  
Puja Kejriwal, a professional who opts for cab service to commute to and from work,  says that she prefers to take a direct transport  facility rather than  the bus as it consumes a lot of her time.

“It has been a pain to go anywhere following the cab drivers’ strike. The comfort of being picked up from the doorstep and the convenience of reaching a place easily was why I opted for this service at the first place, but now I take the auto, she says.

“The frequency of buses and Metro trains should be increased and there should be better connectivity. Public transport will become more popular if it is well organised,” she adds.

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