In an effort to take on cab aggregator giants Ola and Uber, the taxi drivers of Bengaluru have launched a similar platform of their own, Namma TYGR. The new platform has the backing of former Karnataka Chief Minister and leader of Janata Dal (secular) HD Kumaraswamy.
Namma TYGR, which was officially launched today, has already on-boarded 10,000 drivers; 5,000 of them are active while the rest are undergoing due verification processes.
YourStory reported in March that since Uber and Ola had reduced driver incentives and increased their own commissions, cab drivers had sought the help of Kumaraswamy and started HDK Cabs. Kumaraswamy had then refuted reports that he had invested money in HDK Cabs, but current media reports suggests his ownership of the platform.
(In March, Kumaraswamy told YourStory that the app will be run on a cooperative model and that he was only providing them with aid and an app.)
But competing against Ola and Uber, which have billions of dollars in their kitties, is no easy task, Namma TYGR seems to have a carefully devised strategy in place. Similar to Ola's Micro, Mini and Prime categories which offer different charges, Namma TYGR provides "Hatchback" services at Rs 12.50 per km, Sedan at Rs 14.50 per km and SUV at Rs 18.50 per km. Like Ola, they will also have outstation and rental services soon.
With no cash to burn like the bigger players, these charges are almost double of what Ola and Uber charge. But on the upper side, these are fixed charges; there is no concept of hike/surcharges like Ola and Uber have. Also, Namma TYGR's commission is as low as 12 percent, while Uber and Ola charge drivers 25-30 percent.
Additionally, drivers are given benefits like better profit margins, insurance cover for family, textbooks for their children in school, healthcare including accident and life-cover, and car maintenance. Currently functioning in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ranchi and Indore, they plan to expand to Kota and Bhubaneswar too.
On a side note, industry observers see a political motive here. The Karnataka Assembly Elections are set for April 2018, and Kumaraswamy's keenness is seen as an effort to capture the vote bank of drivers in Bengaluru.