A day in India starts with people outraging about a new topic different from the day before. This is visible in the daily life and if you are some one who use twitter,Facebook etc you will be familiar with the question “so what is today’s outrage about”? In our busy social life at times we do meet people and hear from them about incidents & stories which you might have heard in a bit different way online. We traveled in Uber yesterday evening and had a conversation with the driver of the cab. I do talk to people just to know things from their perspective and I always get to hear something new. In the end, I am a common man who likes to listen to other people like me talking.
Uber has become a great success in India amidst all these controversies, especially among the common man who hires a taxi. Why? Well, pricing. The cheap rates and the offers like (first ride free upto Xyz INR) and the recent publicity stint like Uber puppies, Uber Icecream etc also add to their charm. I personally prefer Uber for almost all trips (other than early morning / Late night airport drops). I use uber in any city where I travel if the same is available, all because of the competitive pricing they have. Paying 25INR per km to Meru, Mega Cabs, Easy Cabs etc was never a good option for me, so I started opting for Uber, Ola, Taxi For Sure etc. Like me, most of the people does the same. The hassle free way of hiring a cab and paying using credit card where you don’t need to hear about “Sir, Change nahin hain”. Most of the times, the cabs which come via Uber, Ola etc are in good condition with neat drivers. Also, I have read several news online about how much a Uber /Ola driver earn and the profitability of renting your car through Uber. I was envious about the same.
Yesterday we hired a Uber GO and we got the message saying a Maruti Swift Dzire is our ride. Now this was a steal deal, especially when I have to pay only 7INR per km (other than the charges which Uber cabs have on travel time etc). The car was new and hence clean. The driver was clean and welcomed in a very jovial way. I started a conversation about what he thinks about Uber and then I realized something well did I ignite a controversial topic here? My wife was like, lets us listen to what he is saying, we don’t know the truth. The conversation was about profitablity of running as a Uber cab. He was happy that customer was charged 7/Km only and people do prefer cabs, but he was irritated about what he is getting. When Uber slashed price to 7/Km, They are paying these taxi owners 7/Km only while the actual fare when they tagged their vehicle to Uber was 15/Km. Now they are running in big loss and they are not left with anything with this cheap rate. Well, I asked him the question I was supposed to ask any person who is not happy about current job. “why don’t you think of delinking with Uber and tagging with some other Taxi Provider”? He was like, “sir kya karein; Sab ne rate kum kardiya aur 7/km rakha hain”(what to do sir, everyone has decreased the rate to 7/km). This is to sustain the challenge set by Uber. He was planning a driver’s agitation of all taxi drivers and wanted to strike for these low fares. He arranged for a Dharna (protest) in Jantar Mantar, but only 40 drivers turned up it seems.His fight was right from his angle, while as a customer/rider I wanted a cheap commute. Especially after I paid 25-29/km for taxi rides for more than 5 years.
Uber definitely did something which others never thought about doing. It may be because they don’t own the car or drivers or insurance or other complications. Their model is an example for others now. There may be many drivers like this man and If this outrage spreads, then I will say the riders are at risk. he was angry at Uber, He was angry at the low rates, he was angry at the system which is running the country, he was angry at the Government. He was another angry Indian with a bit more anger and frustration. He was angry at Uber where Uber was just a situation for him, while his actual anger was about the corrupt politicians and the old policies which need a revamp. He was worried about his kids getting jobs, their school fees, the way one has to shell out money for anything and everything, high cost of living and of-course the politicians who was worried about hanging a criminal rather than worrying about keeping the nation and citizens safe & secure.
Now I also used to get angry when I used to pay too much for cab, flight, train etc but no one cared. Now when I see someone else more frustrated and angry, I started thinking why don’t our country think about a solution which brings down the gap between people and their earnings. Why don’t they standardize government jobs so that more people can get jobs, why don’t they keep a standard in every field so that everyone gets a share. The Uber driver and his problems, they made me think about us, each one of us, the tax we are paying and where it is going.
Until the elected members who rule us comes up with a smarter reforms to control our living costs and earnings to balance out the system, this country will be corrupt and people won’t respect the rules and government. A common man may not have fancy dream about dining at 7 star hotels, but he might think about a safe future for his kin, jobs for all and a corruption free country with equal rights for all. Some Govt should start the initiative to rethink on how young generation can get jobs and make they system efficient and less corrupt. The major problem with India is rich will always be richer while Poor remains poorer and the gap between both increases. I am not blaming current govt or previous govt, but this is something which need to be started at some point or else this country will be a country with angry men and women who may vent out the frustration and anger anywhere like the road rages which happen in DelhiNCR on a daily basis.
The Uber driver was just a common man who was angry and frustrated about many things and Uber was just one among that. This is the state of most of us, are we normal and happy? Who cares?
Disclaimer: The information about rates, how uber pays etc was told by the driver. I haven’t investigated the exact process with Uber though.