Notwithstanding the general slowdown in the automobile sector, registrations of taxi cabs in both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have seen as much as double digit growth. With both Ola and Uber competing in the sector, the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Regional Transport Office (RTO) has seen registration of taxi cabs doubling during the financial year 2015-16 as compared to the financial year 2014-15.
During the financial year 2014-15, the Pune RTO had seen registration of 3,210 taxi cabs, while the Pimpri-Chinchwad RTO had seen registration of 2,409 taxi cabs. In the last financial year (2015-16), the Pune RTO has seen registration of 6,275 taxi cabs while the Pimpri-Chinchwad RTO saw 3,507 such cabs. The rise in the number of taxi cabs, RTO figures show, is a recent phenomenon which has coincided with the advent of aggregator platforms like Ola and Uber. During the financial year 2013-14, the Pune RTO had seen registration of 933 such cabs, while in 2012-13, as many as 1,032 cabs were registered. Similarly, the Pimpri Chinchwad RTO had seen registration of 1,677, 2,233 taxi cabs during the years 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively. It might be noted that it is only recently that the taxi aggregator platforms have started their operations in Pune.
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While Uber did not respond to a questionnaire sent by Newsline, the official spokesperson of Ola said they have over 15,000 vehicles registered, including both cabs and auto-rickshaws. “Going by multiple third-party reports, Ola serves at least 80 per cent of the total mobility needs in the country. Quettra Report Q3 talks about how Ola continues to be far ahead in the race. And the most recent report from Swedish mobile app Truecaller, on India’s ride-sharing market, reinforces Ola as the market leader with more than twice as much share as its nearest competitor. “We are already profitable in some key markets and are keen to reinvest in growth. There is a long way to go in building the ecosystem and as market leaders, it is our responsibility,” said the spokesperson.
Auto-rickshaw drivers have complained of dwindling business because of such players. Auto unions of all parties have joined hands to oppose the further penetration of such platforms and have petitioned the state transport minister to take cognizance. Shrikant Acharya, advisor, AAP Rickshaw Sanghatana, claimed that over last two years auto drivers have seen a dip of over 50 per cent in their earnings.