THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the wake of the rising dissatisfaction among cab drivers attached to online taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola, the state government is looking to promote its own online taxi service in association with taxi trade unions. Cooperation Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Thursday told the Assembly that the state’s cooperative sector is ready to provide all support to the taxi unions that are willing to start their own online taxi services.
“Such a taxi service, initiated by a group of unions, will soon begin operation in Ernakulam on a trial basis. If the project turns successful, then we will expand it across the state,” said Kadakampally.The minister told Express that online taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber are trying to monopolise the commercial transport service sector in the state.
They have gained popularity in cities and woo passengers away from the conventional taxi services by offering substantially low fares. “To control such operators, the government has decided to provide support to the taxi unions which are ready to approach us with such similar affordable services.”
Taxi trade unions also welcomed the government’s plan. “If the government comes forward to support us and if operating such services will be beneficial to us, then we will surely welcome such a proposal,” said Pattom Sasidharan, AITUC state secretary.
AITUC state secretary Pattom Sasidharan said a few months back that Transport Minister A K Saseendran and Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan had come forward with a proposal to begin online cab services by including the commercial auto and taxi owners. “Even though we expressed our interest in the proposal, there was no further response from the government’s side,” he added.