For the first time in the history of election in India, cab aggregators like Ola and Uber could be officially hired to perform election duty during the upcoming general election.
In a recent meeting, Mumbai district administration has asked the regional transport office (RTO) to check the possibility of hiring app-based cabs.
These cabs will be essentially used to carry polling booth staff a day before the election day. Maharashtra will vote for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in 4 Phases between April 11 to April 29. Mumbai constituencies are scheduled to vote on April 29.
As of now, RTO used to hire black-and-yellow cabs through unions to ferry the polling booth staffs.
According to Shivaji Jondhale, district collector of Mumbai suburban district, the administration is trying to tie up with Ola and Uber on a per-day basis.
Ola and Uber did not comment on the Hindustan Times report, however, Ola is keen to work with Election Commission in the electoral process.
An RTO estimation said that the city demands 20-25 per cent more vehicles for the duty in the 2019 election as compared to previous Lok Sabha poll.
In 2014, the district administration had hired 5,000 vehicles, including nearly 1,200 buses.
The surge in demands for taxis during the election may create panic for daily commuters in Mumbai. For instance, people were facing a constant delay in cab arrivals during the assembly election in Bengaluru as these cabs had been unofficially used for election duty.
It would be interesting to see how Ola and Uber collaborate with the government avoiding any chaos such as delay in arrival and surge pricing for regular commuters during polling days.