A few years back the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) the airport operator had tied up with App-based cab aggregators like Ola Cabs and Uber with a dedicated parking space on Level P7 of Terminal 2, to decongest the traffic and passenger ease, but with the COVID-19 situation and limited security personnel’s working at the airports the dedicated parking spaces have become vulnerable with unauthorised drivers and touts roaming around.
Ideally, a passenger has to book the Ola Cab on the mobile app and reach Level P7 where the assigned cab would arrive, but as some passengers reported there are many touts roaming asking passengers waiting for their cabs to cancel the ride on the app and luring to avail their cab at instantly or at a lesser price compared to the price shown on the app for once destination.
We spoke to some of the passengers who were a target to such Ola drivers at Terminal 2.
“I recently have had a similar experience, on 13th March I booked an Ola cab at the International airport and reach the dedicated Ola space at Level P7, I got a call from the driver asking my mode of payment, he insisted for cash or threaded to cancel the ride, I had to cancel as I was not caring cash, on the second attempt I again got a call asking for cash yet again and he refused to come if I was to pay online. After two-three attempts, I realised it was not only me, but almost all the passengers were suffering from the same problem”, said Sanket Gupte who recently used the cab at the airport.
Sanket further stated that “To my surprise, some random people were approaching me asking about my destination and the estimated fare shown on the app, they even insisted on paying 20-30 rupees less and to avail their cab which was, of course, not Ola but a private offline cab.”
We spoke to Akhilesh S Rai who runs an Ola cab said, “We have to pay double parking charge of Rs 240 even if 1-minute is crossed from the standard rate of Rs 130 for 30-minute, then how are these other cab drivers parking their vehicles for 4 to 5 hours? This is not possible without someone from the Ola company helping these drivers, they favour their known drivers, relatives, or friends. The company is aware of such practices at their pickup point.”
Another passenger Pravin Patel with whom we spoke said, “I was approached by these men and they told me that the cabs are running late due to high demand and asked me to cancel the ride on the app and to take their cabs at a higher price than what was shown on the App. I had to face 2-3 such people they all gave me false narratives.”
“This is a very bad practice and the authorities should look into this, who will guarantee the safety and security of such cab drivers, especially for a woman passenger,” Pravin further added.
Wasim Sheikh who also recently experienced a similar issue at the airport said, “We book cabs with these app-based aggregators for some kind of safety and security, but if such activities are going on and the authorities do not act, this will jeopardise the whole experience of booking cabs at the airports.”
The only question that remains is that with the intention of making the passengers’ journey seamless and comfortable with these dedicated pickup points for these aggregators, the authorised should act against these illegal activities and touts at the International airport that is making the whole experience a vulnerable one.
We wanted to post this as a warning to fellow travellers, avoid using services from these illegal drivers, especially if you are with children and old age family members, women travellers have their own challenges.