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After Namma TYGR, cab and taxi unions club together to launch app-based service bTag


Mired by incentive cuts, long working shifts, and fallen income, cab and auto unions in Bengaluru have been eyeing to open a third front against Ola and Uber. After HD Kumaraswamy-backed Namma TYGR, now 12 auto rickshaw and taxi driver unions are planning to launch an app-based service, bTag.

The Uber and Ola kind of app will offer auto rickshaw as well as cab-hailing options. The yet to be launched app claims to enroll 9,000 auto unions, including Rajiv Gandhi Taxi Union, Adarsh Autorickshaw and Taxi Drivers’ Union.

Unlike Ola and Uber, the service will not have surge pricing mechanism, reports TOI.

bTag is expected to appear on Bengaluru roads by March end. Last week, Uber had re-entered into autorickshaw hailing service in the city. Uber’s arch-rival, Ola has been offering auto rickshaw-hailing service in the city since 2014.

Currently, Ola claims to have 1,20,000 auto rickshaws registered on its platform across 73 cities. It also set a target to complete 2 million rides by 2017.

While the number of rides happens through Ola Auto isn’t public, it seems to have picked up significantly. Users tend to prefer autos for a shorter distance over cab services.

To take on Ola and Uber, the former Chief Minister (CM)-backed TYGR had launched app-based cab service with a fleet of 10,000 cabs in Bengaluru in November last year. However, the service seems to have failed to gain significant traction in the state capital.

According to Play Store data, it has downloads in the range of 50K to 100K with 3.9 rating.

Earlier this month, it reportedly faced a regulatory crackdown from local transport authorities for not having a mandatory license. Namma TYGR is also said to have in talks with autorickshaw unions for launching autorickshaw hailing service in coming months.

With Uber re-entry, the probable launch of bTag, and an option of autorickshaw on Namma TYGR, the commuters will have a good time as the aforementioned entities are expected to engage in discount war with Ola Auto to gain marketshare.

To counter Ola Auto, Uber has started to offer service at flat Rs 25 for a 4km ride in Bengaluru. The Tiger Global-backed company has been offering Rs 29 for the same distance across major cities.

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