It was a blazing afternoon in Bangalore airport and I was looking to get to the city.
I looked at Uber and Ola and decided against using both due to their exorbitant prices. I looked for more options in Google play store but did not find any!
Helpless I waited a bit more and then after 1/2 hour checked again. The prices increased!
Fine! There were no other options and I booked Uber. Next, I had to go down to their location outside the airport to get picked up!
Anyways the driver picked me up and after approx. 30 minutes left me at a place he said was the destination.
I started looking for the hotel and the next 1 hour ways spent looking for the correct address. Turns out Uber drivers regularly does that nowadays! It was strange because I boarded Uber after a long time and my previous experience was not that bad!
Customers are reportedly unhappy using Uber and Ola. Primarily Uber customers are not happy and for good reasons.
When Uber first started operations, customers were happy. They were getting a better service at a cheap rate. Most cars were equipped with AC and the drivers were well trained.
We enjoyed Uber for several months. Then the decline started. It started when they increased the price. It was not that customers were not willing to fork out the extra money. It was that the overall standard of service started falling.
ACs which were compulsorily present in most cars started malfunctioning (or so the drivers said!) and slowly started to be switched off to the point that 99% of the time there was no AC in any Uber car!
Then the drivers started misbehaving! Some 50% of the time the customer ended up arguing about the correct destination, where to drop etc.
Some faults were with the customers also but for the money paid for a peaceful journey you would expect the drivers to be polite. Strangely no-one at Uber seemed to care. Drivers came ill prepared and ill trained.
If there was a orientation class at Uber, it seemed that drivers really did not take the class seriously or the management failed to implement it properly.
Ola was a bit better but not much. After increase in the commission that their management wanted, some drivers of Ola hit upon a novel way to cheat; They would call back when you reserved a ride and ask you to cancel the ride.
But they would offer you to take to destination at the same price that showed on your app! This way they wanted to cheat their management off their 40% commission!
And similar to Uber the Ola drivers also seemed untrained.
The reason I am mentioning the declining standards of Ola and Uber is because there is an opportunity for another provider to step in and correct the mistakes these two are making.
This is how businesses go down. Slowly at first and then it is all downhill.
It may not be intentional. But being so large plays a massive part in the downhill slide, as there are rounds of escalations before any change is made in these businesses.
Whereas a new business which is lean can move fast and make the necessary changes. They do not have to wait for approval from the higher authority and can solve problems rapidly.
The way I see it, there are two problems plaguing Uber and Ola. It is the ill trained personnel and secondly the high percentage rate they are charging from their drivers. Both are fatal flaws for business.
The drivers are unhappy because they are not getting paid as much as earlier. I have talked to several drivers in my trips. The complaint is same. Uber and Ola is increasing the share without giving any alternative to drivers.
This is where another provider can take entry and address the problems. The time is ripe.
Charge the same price. But appoint only well trained drivers. Give them orientation classes if needed. Pay them adequately. After all it is the drivers who are holding your business up, your investment is lowest in terms of resources employed.
Many a business have thrived by solving a problem. The problems faced by Ube and Ola are real and immediate without a solution in near future as both the management is too busy minting money!
This is where opportunity lies for a newcomer. Solve the problems that the customers of these companies are facing and you have a business at hand!
And the good part is that it is already known that there is a market for this kind of service. Those companies before have already proved it. Now it will upon the newcomer to take advantage.
Mind you, I have not done any market study or taken any survey to know that Uber and Ola are going downhill. But the trips I have taken over last 2 years are enough to tell me what is the sentiment of public regarding these 2 services.
But if you wanted to be super sure, then do a survey and find out that it is indeed not rosy for the transport services.
Is there any other transport service I have left out? Rapido comes to mind. While I have little data or experience with their service, I have heard only great things about them.
Unlike Uber and Ola, Rapido uses only bikes. And they are primarily targeting the tier II and tier III cities. That is a good thing, start small and then scale.
And I have also heard that they are very customer centric. Maybe this service will soon bypass both Ola and Uber, you never know!