Uber cab service has started in India in 2014. Within a few weeks of its service in India, the company seem to have earned a bad name, after the rape case that happened. At the same time Ola, the Indian startup, pitched in started giving free rides to people. But Uber seems to be back in business with the same strategy that its competitor used, giving free rides.
Let’s try to look at the situation of current driving business and the atmosphere that’s prevailing in the country regarding the business.
Talking to a driver Shyam, who belongs to Haryana and has registered himself with Uber only six days ago. Shyam, who was new in the business, had arrived six day before with his brand new ETIOS to earn his livelihood, didn’t even know the route to RK ASHRAM MARG, so we had to make hook through the way due to his inability to understand GPS on his new mobile phone.
He also told that he had registered himself at the Gurgaon office and he was given a mobile phone Asus Zenphone and a user Id to track his income. He was also going to connect with Ola for better income.
Talking to another driver who was driving a brand new Swift Dzire, this time, it was not his, but the car belonged to a private company which provides services to companies like jet airways, only at specific times of the day. So there are not only individual owners who are into business but also the companies who want to make more money.
So is there enough money return in this business to go for such a big investment. While coming from Ghitorni to Lajpat Nagar, our driver was Vimal who belongs to Rajasthan, who was driving a two months old, ETIOS, purchased on loan with Uber as guarantor. He told about how there was a problem in getting a loan from the bank, but if you want to work as Uber driver, they will be the guarantor.
Before switching to Uber, Vimal was in the business of driving private cabs which involved dropping employees to the call centres and other offices. While talking about his previous job he told me how he had to suffer from long working hours and the post was just enough to survive his family in Delhi.
But while working for Uber things have changed for good, the working hours while working with Uber is flexible. Asked about monthly income, he told his monthly figure to reach somewhere above 90k. With this figure, he was able to pay back his monthly loan instalment and a good life for him and his family.
Asking about the frequency of the drive request he is getting, he told that just five minutes before our drive request he had dropped a customer and when asked about the best drive, he told very confidently in busy market area such as Lajpat Nagar, it would not take more than five minutes for his next drive. Vimal was also registered with Ola.
Talking to another driver who has been into the driving business for last twenty-five years, told about the flexibility of working hours on Uber as compared to Meru, another cab service provider inDelhi.
Meru charges are very high, about ₹22 per km whereas, Uber and Ola charges nearly ₹12.5 per km. Asked about why he’s joined Uber and not Meru he told about the management policies and Meru’s intervention in working hours was too hard on drivers while in Uber he’s got flexibility in choosing working hours. Another reason he told was that the Uber has got weekly payment
Another reason he told was that the Uber has got weekly payment policy but Meru is not done punctual in their payments and in the past they hold his payments up to ₹1.5 lacs.
The main aim of Uber seems to register more drivers with themselves so that they can control the cab business on the roads of Delhi. If they have most cabs registered with them they can control the fares according to them. Nothing much can be said about the future of the company and the drivers but If the number of cabs on the road increases then there is a chance that income will fall.
This article is a guest contribution submitted by Mohd Sadiq Siddiqui who is an Electronics & Communication Engineer by Profession and a Writer by Passion. Get in touch with him on LinkedIn.