With a drastic increase in the number of smartphone users in the recent past, almost everything from bureaucratic applications to buying groceries have gone online, without a doubt. The field of transportation too, took it to the specially developed mobile applications to promote their services like online transportation networks such as Ola and Uber.
A sudden introduction of mandatory auto meters and increased awareness among the public itself shook the auto men with a gradually falling income. Given that, the digitalization of booking auto rickshaws and cabs online with relative advantages of door-step pick up, very low prices etc, diverted commuters to take up the ‘Smart’ path.
On being quizzed about the effect that the digitalized transport barons have created on them, one unanimous complaint was a sharp fall in income. “Before all of this came by, I used to earn about 1500 a day. But now, I earn less than five hundred a day. That money also gets over by spending on food itself. Financially, it is really tough for us” felt a Benga luru-based automan.
Moreover, most of the auto drivers refuse to tie up with Ola or Uber if given a choice for varied reasons. “ (Firstly,) the lower and middle clsses are not much aware of these app-based transportation systems. They cannot adjust with them. This will work out only for a few people. My income has surely dropped a bit but it is manageable. “ said Ravi, a sales-man turned auto driver.
“ I would still not prefer to tie up with Ola or Uber because if I had a car, I’d probably get some incentives. But there are none such for auto drivers. Over and above, we will have to pay a commission to them. Although they get a lot of commuters the income earned by an auto driver is very low there. My friends had tried that out” he added.
Another set of important problems faced by the autowalas who aspire to join these digital transport barons are that, neither do they have the money to buy a smartphone nor know to operate them properly, and, they will be demanded to pay five hundred to thousand rupees as a deposit even before they start their job. A few of them were unwilling to tie up with the tech-savvy transport organizations mainly because of these two reasons. Some of them were even ready to join hands with the latter of these problems were addressed.