Taxi unions have finally decided to become tech-savvy by introducing the app known as ‘9211’ to woo commuters. The kaali-peeli taxis have been losing their business after the advent of taxi aggregators like Ola, Tab Cab and Uber. Taxi unions had protested against aggregators and had initially urged the government to ban them. They also wanted the government to regulate the online taxi services. The cab aggregators have been doing brisk business in the city and is the preferred mode of commute for Mumbaikars. They have become popular among commuters due to better service, good ambience and willingness to even ply over short distances. Taxi aggregators had tried to include kaali-peeli taxis in their fleet but only 2,500 of the 35,000 fleet were ready to join.
Commuters can avail the 9211 services by making a phone call. The service will be introduced in 35,000 taxis in the city in a phased manner. It will be more of self-service and the taxi drivers will be required to enrol themselves directly from the 9211 app. The app is expected to be launched by the end of January. It will have adequate safety features, GPS tracking and even an SOS button. A control room has been set up by unions to track each vehicle. Initially the app will accept only cash but later on commuters can also make online payments for availing the service. Passengers will have to pay Rs 22 for the first 1.5 kms.
The driver’s background verification will be done by the police. Thus tax unions are attempting to revive the kaali-peeli taxi services.
A L Quadros head of the Mumbai Taximen’s Union said, “To keep pace with the competition from private cab aggregators, we decided to have a mobile app of our own.”
Arun Gadekar, a Borivali resident said, “I will definitely try the 9211 app but the taxi drivers should improve their services. They should not refuse passengers and ply on short distances.”
Ajay Singh, a Malad resident said, “I appreciate the efforts taken by the taxi unions to introduce the 9211 app for commuters. They must upgrade themselves as per the changing times.”
Sumit Jain, a Kandivali resident said, “This is welcome step by the taxi unions. Taxi drivers should behave politely with commuters and also improve their services. Steps must be taken to improve safety of women commuters.”