In what may be a setback for the Indian Railways, cab-aggregator companies Ola and Uber have informed the authorities that they are not going to continue using the designated space provided to them at railway stations. Notably. the cab companies in March 2019 paid around INR 21 Cr to the Indian Railways for using the parking space.
Many of these stations are located in metro cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Uber and Ola have also spent around INR 100 Cr each in setting up these parking spots and kiosks.
However, according to a media report, multiple talks are underway between the Indian Railways and the companies to renegotiate and revive the deal.
Why Do Cab Aggregators Want To Leave?
A top official of one of the cab aggregator told Business Standard (BS) that they have been in talks with the railway officials and are unsure about continuing with the plan. “We face a lot of logistical challenges like cabs getting stuck in railway parking lots for hours and our driver-partners complaining of tussles with prepaid taxi and auto operators,” he added.
These kiosks at major railway stations are usually a fenced demarcated area. In addition to setting up their booth, cab aggregators don’t have the permission to park more than 10 cabs at a given point of time.
The official also added that the return on investment was not what the companies expected it to be and hence it would be difficult for them to continue with the plan.
Railway Trying To Woo Ola, Uber
According to BS, a government official has confirmed the exit of cab aggregators from the Bengaluru station but he said that the authorities are still trying hard to retain the partnership. “In most of these stations, the companies had gone for higher bids. For example, in Bengaluru where the bid is INR 7 Cr, these companies are finding it difficult to find to run their operations,” he added.
The government official also informed that the companies are also not showing interest in installing more such parking spaces and kiosks at the stations.
However, the sources informed BS that the government is planning to give some cost benefits to the aggregators, along with larger parking spaces, to retain the partnership.