With the hopes of breaking the Ola, Uber and Rapido monopoly in the ride-hailing business, Bengaluru's Auto Rickshaw Drivers' Union (ARDU) has launched its much-awaited 'Namma Yatri' app.
The app, released on Google Play in early October, has nearly 16,000 registered autorickshaw drivers with nearly 7,000 active drivers plying their vehicles within Bengaluru. Put together by the ARDU with the support of the Nandan Nilekani-backed Beckn Foundation, it was inspired by the success of the 'Yatri' app in Kerala's Kochi.
It was launched on the occasion of Kannada Rajyotsava, in the backdrop of controversy regarding Uber, Ola and Rapido overcharging customers. Uber India had also stated that it is mulling limiting the auto services in some parts of Bengaluru due to the Karnataka high court's decision to cap commissions at 10%. The Namma Yatri app aims to fill the gap in the market now.
"We don't want any middlemen. We want to provide a good service to the customers. We want them to avail our services with trust and this is how we can also benefit from the initiative," ARDU general secretary TM Rudramurthy was quoted as saying.
How does the pricing work?
According to ARDU, the fares are based on the price list fixed by the government. After a customer enters their pick-up and drop location on the app, drivers nearby will send them quotes in a set range, which usually involves an extra Rs 10 to Rs 30 for the travel distance to the customers' location. People will be able to select the best pricing that suits them. The payments will be in cash and there will be no cancellation fee.
Payment gateway Juspay Technologies Pvt Ltd has helped the ARDU to set up the app on the Beckn protocol under the union government's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
The union is planning to not charge the drivers anything for at least three months but is planning to take Rs 30-40 a day to cover the operating costs following that.
Since the app has been available on the play store for a while, users have also started posting their reviews on social media.
"Reached perfectly on time, paid directly to the driver. Wonderful experience. 10/10 will recommend," wrote one Twitter user.
"Hats off to #Bangalore Autorickshaw drivers for getting an application developed - #NammaYatri App," wrote another.
However, some have also been complaining about the prices being offered on the app.
"#NammaYatriis charging a lot. I thought we'll get a fair price from this new app. But looks like@rapidobikeapp &@Olacabs are way better now. Rather than implementing new app, #NammaYatri auto drivers should focus on their behaviour and meter," a person wrote.