Autorickshaw drivers in Pune might soon get app-based services to help them compete with taxi aggregator services like Ola and Uber. Also, Rickshaw Panchayat, the largest union of autorickshaw drivers in Pune, is also looking at involving courier and other services to augment their income. The advent of taxi aggregators, although hailed by commuters, has not gone down well with many autorickshaw drivers. The Rickshaw Panchayat, along with other autorickshaw unions, had taken on the taxi aggregators on legal grounds, demanding that their operations be suspended in Pune.
Pune has seen numerous strikes and cabs have been attacked. The state government is yet to take a final call on the proposed guidelines for such service providers which has added to the unrest.
In order to take on the technology-based players, Pawar said, the Rickshaw Panchayat is also thinking of developing an app-based service for Pune’s autorickshaw drivers.
Usage of technology, Pawar said, would certainly reduce denial of passengers by the rickshaw drivers. “An app-based service will open the fare to all the rickshaw drivers in the vicinity. It will widen the scope of those who are serious about business and help the consumer as well,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s rickshaw union had also taken up the cause of a similar service when its members had undertaken a fast unto death protest. The district collector, who is also the head of the district transport authority, had directed the Pune Municipal Commissioner to explore such an app-based service. Shrikant Acharya, adviser to the AAP’s rickshaw union, said the civic chief is yet to meet them and take the matter forward.
The Rickshaw Panchayat also plans to introduce added services to help autorickshaw drivers augment their income. In the pipeline are services like autorickshaws carrying small parcels or acting as vehicles for inter-city courier services.