Passing cancellation charges on consumers also among top complaints, finds Mumbai survey
Geetanjali Minhas | May 11, 2023 | Mumbai
Drivers cancelling the trip after booking was the biggest difficulty 73.4% (1196) faced by users of cab aggregators, according to an online survey by the consumer rights body, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).
This was followed by 50% respondents saying that the driver cancelling the trip and passing the cancellation charges to the consumer was another big difficulty they faced. 22.8% consumers said cab drivers do not help the passengers with luggage or in case of senior citizens, 15.8% said drivers take longer routes, 13% said drivers were rude and 7.2% said conduct of drivers were bad.
The Maharashtra government, in the process of framing new regulations for cab aggregators, had invited suggestions from stakeholders by May 9. MGP conducted an online survey during May 6-8 with 1629 consumers participating from 43 cities across Maharashtra as well as from Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Bhubuneswar, Bangalore, Hyderabad, MP, Goa and Kolkata among others.
While booking from a cab aggregator, 67.3% respondents said that cancellation without intimation was the No. 1 difficulty faced. 60.5% said that drivers enquiring destination over a phone call before arrival was a difficulty they faced while booking. Slow response (40.6%), late confirmation of booking (38.3%), late arrival (17.2%), no response (15%) and poor internet services (05.9 %) were the other reasons attributed to difficulties faced while booking cab services.
Further, the survey also found that most consumers were ignorant about various hidden charges in the bill amount. 73.49% respondents said they were not aware that Ola charges insurance premium of Rs 2 per trip as against 26.5% who knew of such charges were included in ride amount.
90.24% were not aware of the Emergency Health Pack fee of Rs. 8 per trip being charged by Ola as against 9.76% who knew of such charges being levied. 92.82% did not know of Flight Insurance Charge being included in the bill amount as against 7.18% who knew of such a charge being included. Similarly, only 17.93% were aware of Airport Drop charge while 82.07% said they are not aware of such a charge by Ola.
22.03% knew of Airport Pick up charge being levied by Ola and 77.97% users are not aware. 19.15% knew of Advance booking fee as against 80.85% who said they are not aware of such charges.
With respect to Uber, 21.97% of those surveyed said they are aware of Booking Fee charged by the cab aggregator as against 78.03 % who said they are not aware.
41.62% were aware of Waiting Fee while 58.38 % are not aware. 15.03% were aware of Insurance Premium being included as against 84.97% who said they were not aware. Only 7.98% knew of Total Access Fee charges as against 92.02% respondents who were not aware. Only 5.64% knew of Flight Insurance Fee while 94.36% did not know of such charges being included and 21. 55% respondents knew of Airport Pick up charge included in ride fare by Uber as against 78.45 % who were not aware.
76.1% respondents said they were not aware that cab aggregators provide a facility to review fare and fees while 23.9% said they knew of such a facility.
Asked about issues they faced with regard to payment, 50.2% said drivers insisting on cash payment, 18.7% -change not returned by the driver, payment not received by the driver but deducted from the account (13.6%), refusal to accept cash payment (11.7%), double payment from the app (8.3% ) were the main issues faced. 238 respondents said they did not face any issues.
Other issues faced by consumers were: Charging higher fare than that was shown at the time of booking, cash paid but the app showing payment pending, driver asked for cancellation then accepted less cash for journey and not able to change the mode of payment once the journey began.
Further, 81% respondents said surge pricing (high price during high demand) was not justified while 19% said it was justified.
Of those surveyed, 1247 respondents felt that if surge pricing is to be regulated by government up to 10% of the normal fare would be a fair and reasonable percentage while 177 respondents felt that 15% could be a fair amount.
Respondents were also asked about their choice of cab aggregators. 1381 (84.8%) respondents said they were using services of Ola, 1389 (85.35%) said they preferred Uber followed by 5.6% (92) Meru and 0.7% (12) mentioned using CEO Cabs. Other cab aggregators and taxi services used include Blu Smart, Rapido, Cab-E, In drive, auto-rickshaws, personal vehicles etc.
54.9 % respondents preferred Uber to 38.1% who said they prefer Ola and 07.0% said they were using other aggregators.
47.9% (781) respondents said prompt availability was the reason they chose one aggregator over another and 47.5% ( 774) attributed comparative cheaper fare to their preference.
42.3% (689) said reliability, 28.2% 460) cited quality of vehicle, safety 22.2% (362), conduct of driver 21.2% (346) and satisfactory grievance redressal 14.6% (238) were the main reasons for their preference for cab aggregator.
Citizens want aggregator firms to take responsibility for any misbehaviour or criminal offenses committed by their drivers. They are also calling for incorporation of provisions for appropriate action against drivers in case of refusal or misbehaviour with passengers as well as having a control room, helpline and action to be taken by RTO and traffic police as in the case of “Kaali Peeli” taxis or auto-rickshaws.
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