Uber has a knack for being in the news. Stories on how the US based taxi-hailing service has enhanced the lives of driver-partners to the infamous rape of a woman commuter by an Uber driver in Delhi have lent a mixed image to the brand. But this time the company is building ‘news’ by taking to social media to voice against new government regulations.
The US based taxi-hailing service which is present in 22 Indian cities, has launched a democratic fight against the government’s rule for taxi services. The company has taken to social media to mobilize citizen support, and also started an online petition addressed to the Deputy Transport Commissioner, the Minister for Transport and the Transport Commissioner of Government of Maharashtra.
Last month, the Government of India had laid down sector-specific regulations for mobility platforms like Uber. The Maharashtra Government then drafted rules at the state level, that Uber alleges is unfair protection of the local taxi industry. Called as the “City Taxi Scheme, 2015”, it will increase the prices of Uber rides, and result in a loss of livelihood for thousands of driver-partners.
Uber Mumbai and Uber Pune have sent emails to their regular users to voice their support for Uber in Maharashtra by signing an online petition against the City Taxi Scheme. The company is also leveraging its social media pages to gather support. The petition has received nearly 70K signatures till date.
— Uber Mumbai (@Uber_Mumbai) October 25, 2015
— Uber Mumbai (@Uber_Mumbai) October 21, 2015
On the other hand, Uber is working with the Traffic Police to bring better safety to its service. Last month, Uber introduced an easily accessible in-app Help function as an upgradation of its safety feature. Uber Pune went one step further by partnering with the Pune Traffic Police to integrate critical real-time ‘SOS Alerts’ with the Pune Traffic Police Control Room. The firm released a video to explain about the working, but the pure Marathi makes it incomprehensible.
This isn’t the first time, the on-demand taxi service is resorting to a people-driven movement. Uber had used social media and created an online petition after the Delhi government had banned it, following the alleged rape last year. It made use of #BringUberBack inviting users of the service to help get the ban lifted. The petition didn’t help much, as the ban stayed on. However, Uber India has always played on its strengths and engaged its users.
The City Taxi Scheme, 2015 will be effective in Mumbai for now, but it is going to have a bearing on all cities across Maharashtra. As a key layer in the space of taxi service providers, Uber is leading a people-driven change that speaks for its rivals, Ola and others as well.