- Even after being a developer and understanding behind the scenes of working of OLA and UBER like services, I get frustrated everytime I book a cab and that frustration has let to write up of this article. By no means I am blaming any of the above services.
- I’m not highlighting any content in bold here because I really want you to go and understand problems with these services.
- By no means I mean to validate the content. Content is built upon my personal experiences and experiences shared by other people.
A letter to OLA and UBER
So as a regular frustrated UBER/OLA customer, I love booking cabs in frustration now a days.
Every once in a while, I open up UBER or OLA and being a developer, every single times I notice the elegance of these apps. I smile, enter my pickup and drop location and there it is … Rs. 250 for 7.3 kilometers… which translates to 34.2 Rupess per kilometer.
Cool! So I keep quiet and I open up OLA and do the same and its Rs. 80 for same 7.3 Kilometers. Awesome !!! Now I book a cab with OLA, obviously as a customer we are bound to do it, we will go for the one who costs us less, So I book OLA cab and there it is again .. No cabs available.
Being human, especially being a programmer, I understand the surge going on with fares, so I wait for a while with an expectation that fare will drop after some time and I come back to the same circle.
Open UBER, enter pickup and drop location and fare is still the same. I don’ get frustrated now, because fares going down is not a magic happening in minutes.
But then I’m getting late. So I open OLA again and try to book a cab there and huraayyyyy ! Cab gets booked. It’s 15 minutes away and is still okay for me because I can choose to waste my time over money.
So the cab is now 15 minutes away, I wait a bit the OLA driver calls me asking where I wanna go, hangs the call and silently cancels the ride …
Huh ! Cool … finally I appreciate Uber for raising their prices and book a cab. Super frustrated…
Before I say anything, lemme explain few points to discuss here. I’m not being biased to any component of the system here, I’m just trying to explain the real picture of why Ola and Uber turn out to be worst services for riders at times…
- First of all even though I understand most of behind the scene of how these kind of services work, I don’t understand the strategy behind the surges in fares. I don’t know who invented this, but from my perspective, it doesn’t at all make sense that you have less taxis available in specific area or some tragedy happened or could be anything and you raise the fares.
- Fares literally get doubled at times.
- The employee who designed this service must have understood that we Indians or anyone for that matter, we don’t care about fare raises. We have lots of local cabs to rely on.
- The other thing, you are loosing your business because of this greed of earning more in less time. We as a customer, in worst case, we will book the cab for that moment and travel but what you don’t understand is that we are good at learning lessons and while we travel next time, we won’t at all be using your greedy service at all …
- I have seen this surge thing with Ola too, but it doesn’t happen that often but yeah, when it happens, fares literally go crazy high..I mean can you imagine at times I have to pay Rs 250-300 for the ride of 7.3 Kilometers which usually takes me Rs 80?
- I’m being honest, stop this nonsense. This thing absolutely makes your business a mess.
- The perfect business model is to keep the prices normal/fixed and attract more cab drivers by providing little more incentives by driving for red areas. How do you do that?
- Simply cut down few paise of your charges and that helps.
- Customer experience is important guys. That’s how big bosses like Apple, Samsung, One plus have evolved . I know you are big too but doesn’t matter as long as you can’t handle your riders ( key components of your service)
- Here’s the second problem. Cab drivers. I don’t know whats problem with cab drivers, or may be it’s that its something that we have no control over. People mess up. You can’t really do anything for that. But still, here are issues with cab drivers that I have personally experienced.
- First of all, I’m not referring every cab drivers, but come-on we all know how cab drivers behave. It’s not the people, it’s something in the system that bugs them and what that is ?
- I guess that is the weekly/monthly/periodic payment of online payments from riders. like Ola money, paytm etc. We must know that the people who drive these cabs, mostly are not rich ones. They need money every evening to feed their families and I have seen the frustration on their faces after hearing that rider is paying by OLA money or Paytm or any online payment service for that matter. Why? Because of the periodic payments of this online money to cab drivers.
- Please have some work around this. What this results in is cancellation of rides for such online paid rides or asking for cash by cab drivers from riders. I have seen people who ask you to cancel ride and they drop riders for the same money provided that they give them cash.
- Other problem with cab drivers has been the lack of knowledge of the system. I have seen cab drivers getting frustrated on the fact that they have to travel Km’s for short rides. I have seen cab drivers telling us that OLA, Uber doesn’t assign proper trips. Note the word assign here. They believe that there are some guys sitting at Ola, Uber office who do this business of assigning the trips. They don’t understand that it’s all automatic. Contrary if they know how these booking happen and if they are given some proper training of how to behave, rules and regulations of Ola, Uber, they will definitely be maintaining their frustrations of getting long pickup rides.
- Bottom line of above issue ? Don’t give them long pickup rides. Else give them little more benefit for travelling more. Give them proper training. They don’t even understand that the best router they are being shown by Google maps is in fact the fastest one. They don’t believe this…Take time to educate your cab drivers. Those are not regular people, they are gonna carry riders, your customers.
- Other problem has been drivers driving different cabs than their own registers ones. Somehow this needs to be handled because it opens up whole level of security issues for riders. Now here I appreciate that I do see notice on the app asking me to confirm driver photo and cab number before boarding and it helps but I feel that it should be seriously considered.
- Third problem. You: Uber and Ola , you guys take this in writing from me that your services aren’t working well with Auto business. I know it’s a good step but somehow your services and Auto’s is not working well. How ?
- First thing: Ola and Uber auto drivers reject rider more often than cab services. Clearcut reason for this is
- Online payment services ( they don’t want that, they want instant cash)
- Unavailability of auto’s and thus getting long pickups.
- Second thing: Mentality of Auto drivers
- I don’t mean everyone is bad but I have seen auto drivers accepting rides even before riders boards and they don’t pick up your calls, and end ride afterwards which gets them Rs. 12
- It happens frequently that the drivers profile doesn’t match the actual driver. Sometimes even auto numbers doesn’t match. It’s a hug risk to travel in such autos.
- Worst thing is cancellation of rides, I personally never got an auto without cancellation. I book auto, it gets cancelled and then second time, It can’t find any or in case it finds one out, my luck.
- Solution to this?
- Have strict rules for cancellations of ride.
- Try to deposit their online Ola Money, Paytm money at the end of day. Please do this. This is very much required. Auto drivers ask for cash and they get irritated.
- First thing: Ola and Uber auto drivers reject rider more often than cab services. Clearcut reason for this is
- Problem no four: Behavior of cab drivers: Once again, it does come to rules and regulations to be implemented for cab drivers. These guys should be trained/educated before they join to drive for OLA/UBER. Because we as a customer/rider understand that we don’t own their cab by paying few bucks but we risk our lives a lot due to lack of strict rules and regulations against odd behaviors of these cab drivers. Lemme give an example.
- Just few days back, I booked a cab. As usual cab driver called me asking where do I wanna go and told me that he can come to pick me up only when he gets two more bookings.
- Now where the hell does this rule comes? I don’t know. I still said,”Okay! you wait for few more minutes and come to pick me up. “
- Now what this guy does is, he swipes the bar on his app, confirming that he has come to my pickup location ( even though he physically hasn’t driven to my pickup location) and that thing starts waiting charges on my app..
- So now, the situation is that that cab driver wants me to wait for two more bookings, he confirms my pickup without actually picking me up and I’m the one to pay extra waiting charges + ride charges + my waste of time…. This drove me crazy. Obviously I can’t afford this all ( especially waste of my time) so I cancelled that share ride and booked another one ( forget about this guy ).
- Now this guy calls me back and literally shouts on me asking why did I cancel the ride? I explain him all and after me, he goes crazy like anything and starts swearing me. He asks me where I am right now and asks me that he will call his friends to beat me up …
- I’m like really ? I mean is it that hard to book a cab with OLA/UBER ?
- I complaint against him, and all I get to know is “okay sir, we apologize that you have to face this, we will take strong action against this.”. I have no clue if that strong action has happened or not. I’m damn sure that must not have happened because 1. I didn’t get any reference no for my complaint, neither any message from OLA/UBER for my complaint 2. I got no call from any customer executive or any employee of OLA/UBER asking/inquiring about what happened.
- and for this, as a rider , I got just one thing to say to myself: stop using these services if they don’t care about you …
- So lessons from this :
- Lesson for me: Never use OLA/UBER services
- Lesson for OLA/UBER: Take care of customers/riders
- Lesson for cab drivers: I don’t know … go and ask OLA/UBER, I think they care you more than us..
- And It’s me ..I am 29 years old male !!!!!…what about females ? How should we let our daughters, wives, mothers drive in these cabs ? Do you ( OLA/UBER) have any seriousness about our securities ? What if that guy would have killed me in an anger of cancelling the ride?
And this way my friend, is how difficult it is to book a cab in India and go safely from point A to point B. I’m thankful that you took your time to read this.
I hope OLA/UBER learn something from all this discussion and I hope it helps to ease these issues.
After-all, in reality although we riders have this frustrations all the time, Me as a writer, I’m just trying to make these things visible. I don’t mean to blame anyone.