With the opening of the Indian economy in the 1990s, every sector experienced changes in some form or the other. Foreign companies came to India and changed much. Today, every industry looks altered and different. Even the public transportation industry has been evolving. If you rewind time by ten years, you would only have memories of auto-rickshaw, buses and kali-peeli taxis in Indian metros. Fast forward to 2019 and the commuter is spoiled with choices. There are Ola and Uber taxi and auto-rickshaw, private auto-rickshaws, government-run buses, metros and battery rickshaws. With a multitude of options, the commuter can avail of the best. However, it has left much competition among the different players. While the state-run ones are largely not impacted, it is the private players feeling the heat.
When Ola and Uber started their auto services in India, most private auto-rickshaw drivers made much hue and cry. The daily commuters began dwindling, and their income was also declining. Strikes and protests marred most Indian metros by these auto-rickshaw drivers as their bread and butter were at stake. The auto-rickshaw commuters started preferring Ola and Uber auto service as the fare was similar and they could book an auto in one click. The whole process got streamlined. Bargaining and requesting to be ferried became history. Besides, they could also make the payment from an e-wallet or in cash.
This was the situation when Ola and Uber entered the Indian auto-rickshaw industry in 2015. Gradually, however, they also tried to hire the local auto-rickshaw drivers and aimed to make them a part of their team. While those who decided to move on benefited, others continue to have a tough time in the competitive market. However, the good part is that the local three-wheeler drivers have also become tech-savvy and take payments in different e-wallets. They are trying ways to compete and survive. Besides, those who joined the Ola and Uber services started to get more customers, get easy payment and have become tech-savvy too.
There are pros and cons of every change and development. With the coming of Ola and Uber, the Indian auto-rickshaw players got impacted. However, some sailed through, while others are trying to adapt to the changing times. Auto rickshaw has always been a preferred way of earning for those shifting to cities from villages. It is more affordable than a car, easy to ride and provides a good source of livelihood. However, with these new entrants in the market, things are changing. If it will be good or bad for these auto-rickshaw drivers, that only the future can predict as things are still in transition.