Ola is promoting Ola Auto vigorously. They have Ola Auto Access Fee when you book an auto on the Ola app. Have you ever wondered what is the value addition done by Ola for the Ola Auto Access Fee?
The Ola Auto Access Fee
I and some of my acquaintances have tried booking Ola Auto number of times. The actual success % of booking the auto is below 50%. Even though there would be number of autos showing on the app, the autos cannot get booked. Ease of booking is not the value addition.
The auto driver will ask about the payment mode – Ola Money or Cash. On hearing about Ola Money, he will cancel the booking and vanish. A digital payment is not the value addition.
The auto driver will ask about the destination and if it does not suit him, he will cancel the booking and vanish. If the destination does suit him, there is no guarantee that he will drive as per the GPS suggested route. A number of times fare at the end of the trip turns out higher than the fare shown at the time of the booking. The mannerism of the auto driver ensures that I end up paying what he is asking for. No bargaining is not the value addition.
Auto will come for pick up at the doorstep only if the concerned doorstep happens to be in the auto driver’s way. Else he will cancel the booking. The convenience of doorstep pick-up is not the value addition.
I have complained about these errant and rude auto drivers to Ola on the app several times. Till date, I have not received a single feedback. Going by the continuing experiences, I don’t suppose any of the auto drivers have also received any feedback. Customer service is not the value addition.
So, what is it that Ola charges Ola Auto Access Fee for? In my understanding, it is charged for the failure of the Indian State.
The Indian State
I have travelled in few Metro locations. Barring Mumbai, nowhere in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Cochin do auto drivers ply by meter. In the second-tier cities, autos do not have meter itself. The State Government, the Local Municipal Body, the Traffic Police are all aware of this and blissfully oblivious to it. Ola at least shows the up-front meter fare. The un-concerned Indian Government cannot ensure the promise of the meter fare.
In case of Ola, at least we can complain to the customer service, which does not reply though. However, in the case of Indian Government, there is no customer service at all. Whom do we complain to? At times, I have tried reaching up to traffic police, and what I get is a big yawn and turning of the back as the response. Inapproachable Indian Government ensures that they remain unaware of the problems on hand.
Uber and Ola change the fare dynamically 24*7. The meter fixed to the auto keep showing the static charges fixed in some by-gone era. This is the reason cited by the auto drivers for not charging meter fares. Indian Government wants to have smart cities and digital governance but cannot update the auto meter basis the fuel charges.
The bargaining between the auto driver and the passenger shows the utter disregard of the Indian State. We are actually told to negotiate on our own as the system of auto meter set up by the civic government bodies is dysfunctional. People prefer to live in gated communities and resident welfare associations manage their own affairs. The Indian State is not to be trusted for basic civic amenities.
Ever wondered why the rule of law does not prevail in India. Leave aside Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi, who are declared crooks, even as basic as auto meter shall not function in India. It is Indian State’s negligence of the law of the land, which keeps getting broken with impunity.
Auto drivers are a vote-bank for the Indian politicians. Daily commuters are not a pressure group for the Indian politicians. The so-called leaders and the so-called government servants are the masters of their own fate. They are not answerable to the people who travel in the auto. Anyways they do not know how to ask for answers either.
The probability of Ola Auto getting a passenger a meter fare is about 50%. The Indian Government’s probability of getting a passenger a meter fare is non-existent. Hence, I suppose, Ola charges Ola Auto Access Fee for the failure of the Indian State.
If the auto plies on meter, Ola Auto Access Fee ceases to exist, so does the Ola Auto. A utopia in the context of the dysfunctional Indian State – Indians Win, India Lose.