In a unique initiative, Former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is planning to launch a drivers’ cooperative-run app cab service in Bengaluru. He is also said he will be backing venture with initial investment, according to The Indian Express report. Kumaraswamy said he will come up with this after considering the issues faced by app cab drivers in the state capital. The start-up is likely to be called HDK Cabs, says the report.
“I decided to assist them by introducing a new app-based car system to ensure they get good profits,” said Kumaraswamy, who is a film producer and the son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda. “I have decided to invest in a taxi service for their (the drivers’) benefit.
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In a month, we will start off and give all support to drivers by giving several kinds of incentives. This is an initiative of the drivers. I will only support them with technical issues and the initial investment,” he said. The intention behind supporting a taxi drivers’ co-operative was not profit-driven, Kumaraswamy said, but to create an interface between customers and drivers and “bring a win-win situation” for everyone. Rejecting talks that the service was being floated keeping the 2018 Karnataka elections in mind. “This is not being done with the 2018 election in mind. This is being done only on humanitarian grounds,” Kumaraswamy said.
The former chief minister has said the modalities for the service were being worked out and a proper plan would be put in place in a month. The move by Kumaraswamy comes in the wake of taxi drivers staging protests repeatedly to complain about the failure of app cab companies to fix the fare of rides at Rs 19.50 per km, instead of offering rides at rates as low as Rs 6 per km in the city. Thrice in February, app cab drivers announced strikes for a day each, but the success of the protest was marginal as some cabs did ply. In one strike, a section of drivers ransacked an Uber office.
There are about 1 lakh app based taxis in Bengaluru at present. Kumaraswamy said he made the decision after listening to the woes of taxi drivers. “These cab drivers came to me 18 months ago and explained their problems with respect to their day-to-day work and how companies were exploiting them. They have been struggling and this is not just in Bengaluru but also in Delhi,” Kumaraswamy said.