West Bengal government plans to launch own app cab service, may start this month
The West Bengal government has been planning to launch its own app cab service, which would compete with private players like Uber and Ola, among others. The state's app cab ride-hailing service segment is dominated by private players like Uber and Ola. However, in many cases, there have been complaints against the app cab drivers of these companies for slapping extremely high fares for short distances, rejecting consumers etc. Anandabazar Patrika has reported that the plan to launch the West Bengal government's own app cab is to resolve that issue. It also claims that the service could be launched on April 15, which is the Bengali new year.
The report claims that the West Bengal government aims to bring the iconic HM Ambassador yellow taxis under the ambit of this app cab service. This would help the yellow taxis in Kolkata to be revived, which have received the heritage tag. Also, this app cab service is reportedly to come offering consumers rides at 30-35 per cent lower fares compared to other private players. The report claims that this app has been developed by the state government's information technology department.
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However, the report also states that there has been confusion among the yellow taxi drivers about the service. Arjun Singh, leader of Calcutta Taxi Union, has reportedly said that the state government has not discussed the app cab service with the taxi operators. He also reportedly said that they are yet to decide whether they would join the government's app cab service or not.
Also, other stakeholders of Kolkata's yellow taxi operators have reportedly said there is no clarity about the technical aspects of the service, like how the fare will be collected from the passengers, as the yellow taxis don't run on meter anymore. Also, they have reportedly demanded a concrete plan to revive the yellow taxis in Kolkata, which have been in a poor condition for several years, especially since the private app cab players have launched their services in the city.