Autorickshaw drivers are facing losses due to Uber and Ola. Here’s what we think if this is fair?

It is not just fair, it is amazing. If the autorickshaw drivers truly provided customer service they would not be at a loss. They monopolized the routes and often treated the customers like shit. And their attitude really hampered movement in India.

I have lived in most major cities in India and they all had poor transportation. In Mumbai/Pune, you cannot even easily get an autorickshaw and the guys behave as though they are the admissions committee at Harvard. In Chennai, you can easily get an auto, but they will rip you off. In Bangalore, you will both be harder to find and quick to rip. In Delhi, you hope to stay safe.

Ridesharing services help address the severe mobility problem we face in India. Without them we would not be able to do our work as efficiently [instead spending more time begging those arrogant guys and reaching offices late] and that means loss of GDP to the nation.

Ola/Uber truly helps cut regional/linguistic barriers in the country. Imagine a non-Tamilian coming to Chennai. The auto drivers would eat them alive. Their experience with bad autodrivers often made outsiders hate the city. Now, you just open your familiar pan-India app get a taxi and down to your destination with zero drama and haggling. Rideshare services truly help integrate India.

It also helps tourism as foreign tourists can also navigate our cities much more easily with very familiar tools.

Ridesharing services makes our resources very efficient. How often do you see Ola/Uber drivers sit idle with their cars? How often do you see auto drivers chatting idly with empty autorickshaws?

Ridesharing services provide a predictable income and can truly enable a worker to enter the middle class [many cab drivers make Rs. 25000 and more per month]. Most autorickshaw drivers on the other hand cannot enter the middle class with their volumes and incomes.

Ola/Uber is also quite safe, especially for women. If a woman gets harassed in Ola/Uber it becomes a national news as it is quite rare. On the other hand, harassment on an autorickshaw it is a usual thing and moved to inner pages. If women can travel outside much more and stay safer India’s productivity and welfare go up.

Ridesharing services are amazing for the country – it enables better movement, better tourism, better efficiency, better safety and better economic mobility. As for the autorickshaw drivers, the ones who are truly smart and not hiding behind the union can get great opportunities even now.

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