If you have travelled in trains and booked an Ola or Uber to reach your destination, you would understand the struggle of dragging your luggage all the way out of the stations to the main roads, and ultimately walking a mile trying to figure out where your cabbie is standing. And for the ones who don’t know, even though we have Ola and Uber services in India for a few years now, most railway stations do not allow cabs to be parked inside. However, this struggle may end soon, with the Ministry of Railways efforts to allocate dedicated parking space to these app-based taxi services like Ola and Uber.
This initiative comes up after a few railways stations in Bengaluru allotted parking and pick up points to these cab services. Seeing the success of the implementation the ministry now wishes to expand this throughout stations across the country. BGR India reached out to Ola and Uber to know more about this initiative, and we currently await their response.
Additionally, while this will bring convenience to the passengers, it is also in line with the Indian Railways’ efforts to provide an end-to-end travel play to its users. In September last year, the railways revealed its interest in developing an integrated mobile application (IRCTC Connected) offering end-to-end travel solutions for its passengers, including booking cabs, buses, flights and hotels through a new app. ALSO READ: Ola, Uber drivers on indefinite strike; users complain of high fares, cab unavailability
“Five stations in Bengaluru have given parking space to Ola and Uber and a pick up point, and garner around Rs 7 crore a year. If one city in the country is getting that kind of money, we can imagine the potential; from Ola and Uber alone we can get more than Rs 200 crore a year. So that’s a new policy we are planning to come up with. We will issue the tender for this on 15 February,” an official at the ministry of railways told Infracircle.
“Bengaluru has initiated the process but we will change it a bit because it’s not a scalable model. We need to gauge the potential across the country so there are no repetitive tenders. This will provide enhanced convenience to customers as well as revenue for us. This will also get integrated with our new IRCTC app and both Ola and Uber are on board for this. We will get it launched by March,” the official added. ALSO READ: Paytm now lets you book an Uber, but it’s of no good
Also, back in October 2016, Uber had proposed Indian Railways to integrate its ride hailing service with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website to hitch passengers to and from railway stations in various cities. Ola too showed interest in a similar association.
Besides these taxi-hailing services, bus booking platform RedBus, consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and online travel firm Ibibo Group, among others, are said to be in discussions with Indian Railways to partner with the transporter’s integrated travel mobile app.
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