Uber and Ola are not gaga about procuring additional parking rights in India.
“The companies are of the view that it is not making economic sense to them and hence are not going ahead with expansion of services to more stations. Unlike airports, railway stations are located at the centre of the city and only limited parking spaces are available in their premises,” Business Standard quoted a source as saying.
Insider sources said drivers under both cab aggregators have taken issue with parking at railway stations.
“They claim that once they enter a railway station, they get stuck there for hours; they could have utilised that time to find new rides. They prefer staying on the move and picking up customers as and when a ride request comes from the railway station,” a senior operations manager told Business Standard.
Uber and Ola have spent a fortune (Rs 100 crore each) for setting up kiosks, incentivising drivers for parking at the railway stations, and payments to the Indian Railways, Business Standard reported.
However, the investments failed to bring rich dividends.
“People at railway station still prefer prepaid auto-rickshaws and even pre-paid taxis. Also at times, it is difficult for them to locate an Uber or an Ola cab. Many do not like lugging luggages while locating a taxi. That is why they prefer a prepaid taxi or autorickshaw which are parked much closer to the main exit of a railway station,” he added.
Cab drivers also prefer to orbit around to fetch passengers than wait at a fixed point.
Indian Railways had earned Rs 20.93 crore through parking charges last financial year. The app-based cab service providers have been given space for parking of 10 taxis at railway stations at any given point of time.
In the last two years, Indian Railways has permitted Ola and Uber to park vehicles outside the stations in Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh etc.