Leading cab aggregators Uber and Ola are set to face tough competition in the city with the launch of cab-hailing app S3 Cabs next week, which is more driver-focused in terms of fees and over-all benefits. Promoted by city-based mid-sized logistics player Bharat Freight Group, S3 Cabs has already roped in over 700 cabbies from Ola and Uber even before the launch, Sohel Kazani, director, Sahayadri Smart Safe, which owns S3 Cabs brand told PTI.
“The main USP for S3 Cabs is that its drivers will not be charged for the first Rs 1,800 collection every day and collections above this will be charged only at 10 per cent, which is just 50 per cent of what Uber and Ola charge to their drivers,” Kazani added. He said the service will be launched formally by state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis “any day between May 7 and 14” depending on his availability.
Kazani, who has been into logistics and transport business for decades, claimed to have the advantage of full support from as many as 10 transport/cab unions in the megapolis, including those from MNS-affiliated unions. Some of the unions backing S3 Cabs are the Maharashtra Tourist Permit Taxi Union, Khalsa Group Taxi Union, Swayam Seva Sanstha Taxi Union, Driver Welfare Association, Driver Ekta Group, Tourist Taxi Chalak Malak Sanghatana, and Satsang Gyan Mandal Taxi Union among others, he said.
“In fact, the market opportunity was spotted by these unions themselves and we are only a facilitator,” Kazani said, adding S3 Cabs also will not have surge pricing and pooling. When asked about how will he make money at such a low rate, he said partly this is a CSR initiative for him or giving back to the community that he belongs to for decades-transporters.
“I have invested just about Rs 1 crore in developing the app and so it’s more of CSR activity for me. But I will make money when I make my cabbies double up as delivery boys to e-tailers. “Mumbai alone has over 1 lakh consignments/deliveries daily and still that does meet the demand. Hence, the long delays in deliveries. So this is a large market for me. All a cab partner needs to do is to create some space in his boot,” he said, adding he is already in talks with leading e-tailers.
Already 700 drivers have been on-boarded and before launch we will have over 1,000 cabbies on board and 4,000 over the next two months, Kazani said, adding most of those 700 are from Ola and Uber. Both Uber and Ola spokesmen refused to comment. It can be noted that both Ola and Uber drivers were on strike last month seeking lower charges and better working conditions.
Kazani said another way to make money will be aggregating small pick-up trucks, again to serve the e-tailing space. “Some three months down the line, we will have an app for small delivery trucks acting as couriers for e-tailers and here we will focus only on cash-on-delivery mode as this has the highest margin in the segment because the service fee is charged on the value of the cargo,” he added.