No, no, no
Already both these industry leaders suffer from ‘naysayers’.
No, not the consumers, yet.
But their own drivers, who signed up to offer to drive the consumers, are asking for cabs. They end up saying no to consumers most times, turning down the cab requests on the apps when it does not suit their route.
The pretext keeps evolving creatively. Like asking the consumer to cancel the ride, to save on any penalty that the cab-hailing platform would impose on the driver. Not picking up consumer calls until it frustrates the consumer to cancel the ride. So many more…
One is a domestic entity that shaped a business using technology and youthful entrepreneurship. It continues to have audacious diversification of its enterprises, across unrelated segments including automobile manufacturing, electric vehicle batteries, financial services, etc. It reportedly has been having leadership attrition issues for some time now. While to its credit, it has also been a poster boy of sorts for the Digital India movement, and entrepreneurship.
The other one is a global entity, with its own challenges. It needs to quickly stem its financial losses and be relevant in the markets it is present in.
Hopefully being data-driven technology platforms, and claiming to use cutting-edge technology, these entities should know about the existing consumer issues. It is pathetic that despite throwing millions of dollars and hyped-up billions of dollars of valuations (ideas brought in by private investors), these businesses have not solved the supply side issue of adequate availability of cabs on the road. Without the benefit of formal empirical data, let’s use our experiences – many times we observe that drivers we use in these cab-hailing services, seem to be signed up for both these entities and end up declining business. Is it laziness? Is it needed for higher margins? Or is it a lack of financial incentives from the platforms? Is it a lack of training towards consumer service? According to a cyber security firm – Surfshark’s data sensitivity index, the ride-hailing apps, on average, collect 14 data points per use. So much for consumers giving up their data privacy, for shoddy ride services.
It is now a seemingly distant & largely Utopian concept of clean air-conditioned cabs with polite drivers, ready to take you to your destination. What we have instead, is consumers regularly frustrated by the cancellation of taxi bookings, expensive cab rides, and upsell from travel insurance to finance the ride, on top of cancellation fees for no fault of the customer. And no grievance redressal options.
Despite their claims of large private capital, and technological prowess including (intelligence and) artificial intelligence and machine learning, these entities have not been able to solve these basic consumer trouble points. Hence, any merger or consolidation of their services would only worsen the consumer experience. With a merger, consumers would have a lesser choice.