With the introduction of new app cab services in the city, citizens though are hopeful that their woes, concerning mostly surge pricing charged by existing app cab aggregators, will come to an end, are however, reluctant in switching to the new ones due to lack of trust.
Being a daily user of app based cab services, Survi Agarwal, a professional at a creative agency, has come across many rash drivers who “don’t come at the desired location or drop at the exact drop location”. She adds that many drivers operating in the city are new here and not trained enough to use the GPS system properly.
Another commuter, Shraddha Banerjee, currently a student of St. Xavier’s University, said that since she often has to travel alone late in the evening, she finds the app based cabs a very safe option. However, nearly double the price during peak office hours often discourage her from opting their services.
As new app-based cab services start entering the city market, people feel a sense of relief, since the existing strong players in the market, use dynamic pricing and often increase prices in hours of need. Whereas, the new operators quote static pricing like age-old yellow taxis, as their proposition. However, low reach, limited promotions, and lack of public faith in them, still leave the supremacy of the existing market leaders unchallenged in Kolkata.
Drivers often contact passengers to ask their drop locations and ask them to cancel the ride, stating the location to be quite far-off. Instances have surfaced when passengers refused to cancel and drivers began the ride and ended it at a nearby spot, making the aggregators charge the passengers, who then had to go through a time-consuming procedure, to get the imposed charge waived off. Prashanto Dutta, a resident of Bangur Avenue faced a similar situation. A one kilometre long ride from Tipu Sultan Masjid in Esplanade to Central Metro Station costs between Rs 65 to 125, depending on the time of the day, and the cab size. The same ride, however, costs Rs 173 during peak hours and demand.