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Namma TYGR, UTOO fizzle out, big players rule roads

The launch of two new alternatives to taxi aggregators Ola and Uber last year had brought joy to taxi drivers who saw a way out of the financial troubles that they were facing while working for the two big players. However, six months later, drivers are now realising that there is no other option when it com

Published: 02nd May 2018 03:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2018 04:58 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:The launch of two new alternatives to taxi aggregators Ola and Uber last year had brought joy to taxi drivers who saw a way out of the financial troubles that they were facing while working for the two big players. However, six months later, drivers are now realising that there is no other option when it comes to driving a taxi in Bengaluru except signing up with either of the two players.

Last year, UTOO, a service launched by telecom entrepreneur C Sivasankaran, as well as Namma TYGR, a service supported by JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy, had announced their launch, intending to give the giants Ola and Uber a run for their monies. While UTOO, despite having a licence to operate, did not manage to find enough drivers to sign up, Namma TYGR faced a different battle as the Transport Department cracked down on the service for not having a licence. Now, drivers say that they do not want to take a chance by signing up with services that are not stable even if it means additional income.
“Namma TYGR went on a massive recruitment drive and I was one of the first to sign up with them.

However, we barely got on the road before we were shut down. While the idea of a company that is run by drivers and offers many benefits is very noble, it did not take off and eventually everyone has to look at earning their daily bread. For now, Ola and Uber are our only options,” said Siddaraju, a driver.
Currently, the UTOO app does not load past the splash screen. Efforts to reach UTOO to understand if their services have been suspended or stopped permanently were unsuccessful. At its launch, the company had promised rides with fixed rates, without a surge charge, something that was very appealing to customers.

However, with very few cabs available, customers found the service unreliable, a factor which UTOO could not address by scaling up fast enough. “Fares of Ola and Uber change on a daily basis. A cab service which offers a fixed rate and reliability would have been a great option for Bengaluru. Now I have no option but to opt for whatever prices the remaining aggregators offer daily and have to deal with cancellations,” said Trisha Majumdar, a resident of Indiranagar.

Namma TYGR, which has its origins in several protests held by drivers against the ruling aggregators, also promised a breath of fresh air but never delivered. “I downloaded the app on the first day of its launch and tried to use it for at least two weeks after that. I could not get a cab even once,” said Kaushik Banerjee, a resident of Domlur. While the app is still available on Google Play Store and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times by customers and more than 10,000 times by drivers, the reviews are a long list of complaints about the app and the unavailability of cars.



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