Mumbaikars struggling to find Ola and Uber cabs now have another option — S3 cabs. To challenge cab aggregators biggies like Ola and Uber, Sahyadri Smart Safe Cabs or S3 cabs has launched in Mumbai. S3 claims it will offer rides free of surge pricing and at rates cheaper than existing players.
Prafulla Shinde, founder-director of S3 cabs, said, “There will be neither surge nor night charges. Our cabs can be booked at a fare of INR 10-12 per km, which is lesser than other aggregators.”
According to a media statement, around 800 tourist cab drivers have registered on the S3 platform and 4,000 other applications are being processed.
He also claimed that the company will charge lower facility charges from the drivers than other aggregators. The facility charges will be: 3% from drivers earning up INR 1,500-2,000 and 10% on any amount above it, as opposed to 20-25% charged by other cab aggregators.
The company claimed that despite the Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 regulating surge pricing, lack of implementation of the directive has left consumers unhappy and shelling out steep cab fares.
Shinde said that S3 would follow the new rules. “We have set up a call centre. Complaints can be made via email, WhatsApp, and on the helpline number. Drivers can also be rated,” he said.
The company claimed that it has also developed a service app for restaurants, hotels, bars, etc, who can use it to book cabs for their customers. Shinde said S3 also plans to launch a parcel service in July and it is already in talks with two online shopping companies.
Inc42 earlier reported that Sohel Kazani, director, Sahyadri Smart Safe, said that he had received support from 10 transport or cab unions, including the Maharashtra Tourist Permit Taxi Union among others, for S3.
He added that the market opportunity was identified by these unions and he 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.
Recently, Uber and Ola’s drivers have been holding protests to get cab aggregators to accede to their demand such as driver security, better incentives and working hours etc. Since the protests started, companies started forming alliances with local taxi associations to launch their own cab aggregation platforms.
Also, we have Bengaluru’s Namma TYGR which was launched towards the end of last year but 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 and last year reports also surfaced that Indian government might also enter the cab-hailing space to get more people employment opportunities.
According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, the Indian online mobility market, which includes cab aggregators and auto-hailing verticals, has seen substantial growth last year. According to the report, these two categories contributed over 15% to the industry’s overall gross book value (GBV) in 2017.
With the start of operations in Mumbai, S3 cabs has a huge market to address but matching up to the technology prowess and service provided by Ola and Uber will be a big challenge.