The Kerala unit of the CPI(M) is planning to take on taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola by arming taxi and auto unions with software and technical support.
Majority of the auto-taxi drivers in the state are organised under various unions linked to political parties. The CPI(M) has taken the lead and is considering proposals by two independent software consultants who have volunteered to help the party to launch a software platform for mobile app-based taxi service. Uber and Ola drivers are currently facing violent protests across the state from the traditional taxi drivers and service has been disrupted on several occasions.
CPI(M) member and former finance minister TM Thomas Isaac wrote on his FB page welcoming the alternative and said that it would benefit both drivers and users. Isaac said that taxi unions in the state are concerned and that the party is positive to helping the drivers union in migrating to the mobile app based platform.
Former MP and Ernakulam district secretary P Rajeev said that multinational operators use the strategy of keeping the fares low and competitive in the early stages to destroy competition. “It is seen that once the competition is destroyed they hike the fares. We have initiated discussion with Vytilla Taxi Welfare Union to launch the service.
Some former student union leaders have come forward to help with the platform and technical support,” he added.
CPI(M) feels that it would be easy to organise the drivers in Kerala as most of them are against the multinational operators and have strong political leanings.
The pilot project would be evaluated before spreading the service to other places, he added. Another consultant is working with the district unit of CPI(M) in Thiruvananthapuram.