While the major cab aggregators Uber and Ola are busy fighting for a bigger stake in India’s cab-hailing market, Mumbai is ready to welcome the new cab-hailing app, S3 Cabs next week.
As per a PTI report, the services by S3 cabs are more driver-focussed in terms of fees and other benefits. It has been promoted by Mumbai-based mid-sized logistics player Bharat Freight Group.
The report added that the app will be launched in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis between May 7 and 14. At present, the company has onboarded 700 drivers, most of them being from Ola and Uber.
Sohel Kazani, director, Sahayadri Smart Safe, which owns S3 Cabs brand said, “The main USP of S3 Cabs is that its drivers will not be charged for the first $26.93 (INR 1,800) collection every day and collections above this will be charged only at 10%, which is just 50% of what Uber and Ola charge their drivers.”
Also, there would be no surge pricing and pooling services.
He added that he had received support from 10 transport or cab unions including Maharashtra Tourist Permit Taxi Union, Khalsa Group Taxi Union, Swayam Seva Sanstha Taxi Union, Driver Welfare Association, Driver Ekta Group, Tourist Taxi Chalak Malak Sanghatana and Satsang Gyan Mandal Taxi Union among others.
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He added that the market opportunity was identified by these unions and he has acted as a facilitator. With an investment of $149.62K (INR 1 Cr) to develop the app, he considers this as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative and wants to give back to the community he belongs to.
The plans to monetise would be through doubling up cabbies as delivery boys to etailers.
“Mumbai alone has over 100K consignments or deliveries daily and still that does meet the demand. Hence, the long delays in deliveries. So, this is a large market for me. All a cab partner needs to do is to create some space in his boot,” he said.
Furthermore, he also plans to expand monetisation through an app for small delivery trucks acting as couriers for e-tailers and the company will focus only on cash-on-delivery mode as this has the highest margin in the segment because the service fee is charged on the value of the cargo.
With 700 drivers already agreeing to join the new cab service, the company plans to make it to 1,000 before launch and 4,000 of them over the next two months.
Recently, chaos was created by the Uber and Ola driver fleet over the issues such as driver security, better incentives and more. Soon after, the companies have been forming alliances with local taxi associations to spearhead the growth.
Earlier, Uber started a new pilot programme that will bring traditional, kaali peeli taxi drivers on board under UberTaxi in Mumbai.
Not only this, while interacting to Inc42 last month a couple of drivers and cab unions in Jaipur, Rajasthan had mentioned about their plans to move onto a Swadeshi app, claimed to be a better alternative to Ola and Uber. At the time, 2,500 drivers had joined in, however, there have been no updates about the same.
Also, we have Bengaluru’s Namma TYGR which was launched towards the end of last year and has over 50,000 downloads. However, it hasn’t received the license yet which has put a halt on its operations. We also have Poochho app launched by the Delhi government in 2015 which has over 100K downloads on the Playstore.
Last year, reports also surfaced that Indian government might also enter the cab-hailing space to get more people employment opportunities. The app was to offer users a variety of options to choose from, including two-wheeler taxis and electric cars.
According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, the Indian online mobility market, which includes cab aggregator and auto-hailing verticals, has seen a substantial growth last year. As per the report, these two categories contributed over 15% of the industry’s overall gross book value (GBV) in 2017.
Even though there have been many associations who have tried to enter the market to challenge Ola and Uber, many have failed miserably. But with S3 cabs, how well does the company challenge cab hailing majors will also depend on the acceptance from Mumbai’s population.