In a surprising move, government of India seems to be mulling over launching an app based service on the lines of Ola and Uber. Country’s transport minister, Nitin Gadkari said that the government will soon float such services to offer better, efficient and cheaper cab services to people.
The app will enable booking for all kinds of vehicles for providing transport facility within cities. It will allow booking for various mode of transport including cars, auto rickshaws, e-rickshaws and e-bikes.
“The idea is in the primary stage but we’re working on it seriously,” said the minister to Economic Times. While the government expressed its intention to launch such service to protect jobs in the sector, it doesn’t set any timeline for it.
In case, the government launch such app, then it will directly compete with ride-hailing conglomerate Uber and home-grown unicorn Ola. “The government platform will help get more people employment opportunities,” added Gadkari.
Launching app based transportation service for commuters by government isn’t a new phenomenon. Earlier, Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government had launched PoochO driver app for booking taxi and auto-rickshaw in the city. It also announced app-based premium bus services during odd-even scheme to curb pollution and traffic last year.
“Why should two companies like Uber and Ola have a monopoly in the market? We want people even those running cab business at a small scale to have an equal opportunity to provide service to people,” said Gadkari.
Upset by exorbitant fares charged to commuters through surge pricing, government in Karnataka opposed dynamic price mechanism (surge pricing) practised by Ola and Uber last year. It also banned it for a few months, however, later Uber and Ola resumed surged pricing within government prescribed maximum fares.
Moreover, disgruntled by steep fall in income from Uber and Ola, drivers had also formed union to launch their own service. In Delhi, driver union launched Sewa cab last year while HDK Cabs (backed by former Karnataka chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy) set to make debut in Bengaluru.