Imagine a situation, you just left your office for the day and are running late to attend a wedding. Let’s say your home is around 15 kms away from your office. Now, you generally take the city bus for your commute, and the closest bus stop to your office is around a small 1km walk. On regular days, it is a simple thing, but today you are running late. What would you do? Call upon one of those autos that are always parked in front of the office gate? Or you would order a cab from an online-taxi aggregator like Ola or Uber among others?
Had it been any time before 2012, you basically would have just gone to the autowala and after negotiating with him, would have left for your destination. But, now you flinch with the slightest reference of dealing and haggling with an autowala guy, mainly because of their less than perfect ways of talking, and a habit of asking stupidly exorbitant prices for shortest of the commutes. Now, you can take your smartphone out, open up an app, chose the type of a cab you need as per your budget (and urgency) and off you go, all happy and chilled.
With the advent of smartphones and a steadily (read reasonably slowly) improving internet penetration and speeds, we now have a whole new world of apps that surround you for the smallest to the biggest of our needs. So, how online-taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola, who are right now the major companies in this field, are changing the way people travel in India, let’s find out:
With the services like Uber and Ola, you can choose time and place of your pick up along with the type of a vehicle for your commute by yourself. As an added benefit, you can also pay online, through credit cards and even get exciting discounts and offers now and then.
Backed by colossal net-worth and investments, these companies can provide consumers with much lower prices for their commutes. This has rendered the cumbersome negotiations with the unorganised auto and taxi services mostly pointless.
This can be a tricky discussion, and for the sheer simplicity to explain this, we take out the human corruption and criminal thinking out of this and talk by engineering viewpoint. Now, it is a simple thing to understand that a car is always going to be safer compared to auto in case of an accident. Also, a car keeps you safe from the elements while and auto, well seldom does. If you had travelled in an auto at 5 am through a dense and bone-chilling winter fog through the empty roads of the national capital even once, you would understand what we mean.
Also, being in a cab attached to a service provider like Ola or Uber, you can also share your ride status with a loved one to enable them in knowing your exact whereabouts through the journey, this serves as a relatively safe and confidence inspiring step for those who travel alone.
One of the most important benefits of the spread and acceptance of online-taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola that has mostly gone under the radar is the fact that it can/has redefined private car ownership. If you reside in the country’s Metro’s or tier 1 cities, dense traffic is something you cannot escape. Thus, commuting through services like Uber and Ola daily to your office and back might be much more comfortable than owning a car. However, there can be for and against discussion points for this point as pretty clearly explained in this article posted on FirstPost.in on June 29th, 2015 and the one on Capitalmind.in as mentioned in point 2 above.
Now, this according to us is the most effective and essential benefit that online-taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber have brought. This might get us a lot of flake but consider this somewhat to the point and a blunt thing once said by Jeremy Clarkson, a world-renowned Automotive Journalist, ‘Those who do not love to drive, should not be allowed to drive on roads’. Now, we are already suffering from stupid traffic jams everywhere we go, with the explosion in the amount of privately owned vehicles on our roads, the slowly improving infrastructure is always left to play a catching game.
Now those who do not enjoy driving are the ones who are particularly frustrated and irritated to be stuck in traffic. This is something which is not needed, and it is indeed a pleasure that services like Ola and Uber have made it possible for people like these to commute in much peace and comfort and also in a very cost-effective way. It is a win-win for all, and if you think that automakers will lose sales volume then looking closely, the number of commercial taxis is increasing many folds throughout the country, and this will more or less manage the numbers.