To replace Uber and Ola, taxi drivers in Bengaluru are floating Telegram groups to connect with customers

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The groups are managed by the taxi drivers.

Photo: Reuters

bangalore: As they find the app-based service less profitable, taxi drivers in Bengaluru are now trying ways to connect directly with customers using several Telegram groups. According to reports, more than 10 Telegram groups connecting thousands of customers and taxi drivers are active in the city. The majority of drivers have worked with app-based aggregators such as Uber and Ola.

Many groups are location-specific, such as “Smart City Cabbies”, “Airport Taxi Group”, and the like. One of the main groups ‘Friends Cab Service’ has more than 25,000 members while the ‘A1 cab’ group connects more than 18,000 members.

The groups are managed by the taxi drivers. They add customers they meet daily to the group. In addition, they collect information from the staff of companies responsible for organizing taxis. Thus, each Telegram group is developed into a location-based community. Additionally, customers can request a taxi in the group and the nearest driver will interact with them directly. Pricing details and times will be shared within the group itself. According to the drivers, customers are also more satisfied with the Telegram-based taxi service because it allows direct communication.

Taxi drivers point out that the profit margin and incentives they now receive from ride-sharing companies are not attractive enough to continue working with them. The 30% commission per ride for companies is unduly high, divers say. Although there have been smaller scale Telegram groups, drivers have started to rely on them more effectively just recently.

Similarly, the city’s automobile unions offer a “Namma Yatri” app. Even before its official launch, the app saw an increase in downloads. Up to 10,000 downloads were recorded in over a week. Recently, the Karnataka government asked Uber, Ola and Rapido to stop car services in the city after overcharging complaints. However, the apps were later allowed to operate after agreeing to lower the base price to Rs 35.
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