BENGALURU: The rising popularity of cab aggregator services in Bengaluru and surrounding cities is proving to be a money-spinner for the railways. It has inked a `51-crore deal with Ola and Uber, the highest ever parking contract signed by Bangalore Railway Division.
The deal was in the discussion stage for nearly a month. N R Sridharamurthy, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bangalore Railway Division, confirmed to Express that the deal was signed recently. “It is the first time in Indian Railways that such a huge contract has been entered into with aggregators. As per the deal, railways will be paid `17 crore at the commencement of each of the three years. We have received the contribution for this year in advance.”
“This marks a significant contribution from the non-fare revenue section to the Railways,” he added.
Altogether 192 cabs will be made available at railway stations in and around Bengaluru.
Ola commenced operations in a small way in Bengaluru City station in October 2016. Sensing the huge popularity among passengers who preferred Ola or Uber to the regular auto or taxi service, the Railways decided to expand the cab aggregator service in January 2017. Tenders were called for hiring services of cab aggregators at 12 railway stations and spaces earmarked for cab parking and kiosks inside stations for offline booking. The licences have now been finalised.
The City Railway Station will have 75 cabs that will be positioned at both the entries while Yeshwantpur will have 30 cabs. The number of cabs to be housed in other stations are: Krishnarajapuram(10), Cantonment(20), Kengeri(5) Banaswadi(10), Yelahanka(5), Bangalore East (5), Malleswaram(2), Byappanahalli (5), Whitefield(20) and Hebbal(5).
This will benefit passengers alighting at stations which witness less passenger traffic compared to major ones. “Those who opt to alight here are at the mercy of the auto drivers or the couple of taxis around who demand very high fares,” said an official.
Over the possibility of making profits after payment of the huge licence fee, both Uber and Ola remained tightlipped.
An Uber spokesperson said, “Our objective now is to partner with the public transport to ensure last-mile connectivity.”