Interesting story from the New York Times:
In a country clogged with congestion, a handful of start-ups are using technology to more easily connect auto-rickshaw drivers with customers — an Indian twist to Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing apps.
Mr. Dusane’s employer, Autowale, uses a program to map out potential routes and maximize pickups. AutoRaja has a dial-an-auto service in Chennai. In Bangalore, mGaadi offers rickshaw bookings via its website and app.
The three-wheeled, often black and yellow auto-rickshaws are ubiquitous in India, where public buses are rather abysmal, subways are limited and taxis are few and expensive. People can hail auto-rickshaws off the streets, but getting one depends on a combination of negotiating skill and luck. Most drivers tend to charge a flat, inflated rate, instead of going by the meter, and often turn down prospective customers if the distance is too short or to an area from which they might not get a fare back.
Autowale is trying to make the process easier by offering rickshaws on demand. Customers can request a rickshaw through the company’s app or website, as well as through the more old-fashioned method, its call center. Passengers pay a convenience fee of about 33 cents per ride.
Although Uber came to India last September, the service is expensive and doesn’t compete in the same space. As in the United States, Uber, which operates in six Indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, focuses on the taxi market.
We all have an auto-rickshaw tale or two, right? Here’s a not great picture from Puri:
Posted by Steve