Government departments and public sector units (PSUs) are looking at saving on huge taxi bills, by turning to popular ride-hailing apps like Ola and Uber for their transportation needs and have been promised service without any 'surge pricing'.
Both Uber and Ola are looking at offering taxi services to government departments at special rates and have registered at the portal of government e-marketplace (GeM). Besides, Ola is also in discussions with various PSUs for its 'Corporate' offering. The GeM was launched last month for buying goods and services by central ministries and departments for greater transparency in government procurement, which is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore a year.
According to an official, the government is looking at significant savings as various departments currently shell out as much as Rs 40,000 every month per taxi.
What has been agreed is that they will give a monthly bill to us, something they have never done. Second, for the government, there will be no surge pricing, the official said.
The official added that the organisations need cabs everyday and 'if you get the Uber and Ola, it is economical and it is efficient. You also get a complete tracking of distance and clear-cut billing'.
The demand for taxi services in government departments is growing and companies like Uber and Ola are keen on tapping this segment. Besides, home-grown taxi hailing app operator Ola is planning to offer its 'corporate' service to PSUs. Ola Head (Corporate) Ankit Jain said the company is in discussions with various PSUs for its 'Corporate' offering. This, the company expects, will play an important role in its target of getting the top 100 companies in the country on board its platform.
Jain said many private companies/government organisations continue to follow the conventional route of booking, where they outsource their travel needs to be managed by a travel agency or facilitate the reimbursement mechanism for the expenses incurred by employees.
With corporate houses spending a considerable percentage of their annual expenditure on travelling requirements, there was an immediate need/scope for technology intervention in order to make this process seamless and thus increase productivity. With Ola Corporate, these entities have access to a wide range of mobility options at a fraction of the cost as against the existing corporate travel options, he said.
While no immediate comments was available from Uber, it has reportedly also created a separate mobile app for government officials to provide the services. As per estimates, the government procures goods worth Rs 10,000 crore per year for various departments and ministries. The GeM has seen several vendors register on the online portal to provide goods at competitive prices to government departments. At present, goods, including computers, stationery and services, are on the platform and the government plans to widen it by April 2017.
The portal is helping fetch best prices, besides benefiting the buyer and the seller. The Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) has developed the portal with the help of the department of electronics and IT.
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