Taxi app “Uber” causes alarm in Indian Taxi service operators

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US based taxi hire and ride sharing app has expanded it’s services in India today. Extending it’s presence into Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Kolkata, Uber services now are available in 10 Indian cities and has the largest presence here outside US. Valued over $18 billion, Uber offers services in over 30 countries. Uber is wooing new customers of India by offering three free rides of worth Rs. 200 each!

Uber’s sharp focus on India has forced the Indian taxi service companies to come together and try to stop it. Local companies like Meru Cabs, Easy Cabs, Mega Cabs and others under The Association of Radio Taxis India, have complained to the RBI over Uber’s use of international payment gateway which uses single stage authentication for payments, allowing to store credit card details of users, contrary to RBI stipulation of two stage authentication.

Other than complaining to the RBI, the Indian taxi companies are also trying to establish their own foreign based single stage payment authentication systems so as not to lose the business. About 5.5 lakh commercial cabs ply on 10 top Indian cities. The total market in India is valued at $ 6 billion or 36,000 crores, set to grow at 40% annually.

Bangalore based taxi group OlaCabs is looking at introducing it’s own Ola Money cards to customers. TaxiForSure is considering setting up foreign offices to collect fees. Use of credit cards not being prevalent and slower internet speeds in many areas of the country are hindering these attempts.

Meanwhile, Uber has also launched UberBlack service in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune – the top metros of India, and low cost UberX in Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi.

So, a new taxi revolution is about to take place in India? Why not, high time for that, already.

Medaram Jathara

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