BENGALURU: Over the last four years, the number of taxis in the city has nearly doubled.
According to the Transport Department records, the number of taxis in the city has increased from 66,264 in 2013-14 to 1.40 lakh in 2016-17. As many as 74,391 new taxis have been registered in the last four years (see graphics).
With the entry of cab aggregators into the market giving more alternatives to commuters, BMTC has been staring at dwindling passenger revenue and braving losses. And as for Ola and Uber drivers, more cabs on the roads also means lesser revenue. As on May this year, the city had 1.40 lakh taxis and 1.75 lakh autorickshaws.
Officials say that the number of taxis is increasing by 30 per cent annually compared to just 6 per cent growth rate for autorickshaws. This means the city will soon have more cabs than autos. It also indicates the marked shift in commuters’ preference for luxury cabs over autorickshaws.
Many commuters say cabs are cheaper, comfortable, safer and hassle-free compared to autos. “I have stopped taking autorickshaws ever since Ola and Uber launched in the city. Sometimes cab rides are cheaper than auto rides because of the offers,” said Sabitha N, a regular cab user in Shantinagar.
She adds that monthly passes like Ola Select and UberPASS are cheaper than auto fares. “However, some cab drivers are now acting like auto drivers as they refuse to ply short distances and also when it rains.”
Officials say that the number of taxis increased after the entry of app-based cab aggregators. “They are facilitating bank loans to buy new cars for their drivers and are also attracting more people promising better incentives. However, autorickshaw permits are issued through the respective Road Transport Authorities after thorough checks,” a senior transport official said.
On the other hand, auto drivers admit that they are facing the heat after the entry of app-based cabs and Metro rail. Rudramurthy, general secretary of Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said several auto drivers have sold off their autos and taken to driving cabs.