Eye on votes, Janata Dal (Secular) backs new app-based cab service in Bengaluru
Bengaluru: Savetur Digital Pvt. Ltd-run TYGR Cabs on Wednesday launched “Namma TYGR”, an app-based cab service in Bengaluru that has officially been endorsed by the Janata Dal (Secular), a political party headed by former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda.
The venture, with about 5,000 cabs, is the result of many city-based cab unions coming together to float a company with the backing of former Karnataka chief minister and Devegowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy. He had offered support to drivers protesting against other app-based cab aggregators and had raised concerns over issues like constantly changing incentive structures, delayed payments and other penalties affecting daily earnings.
Kumaraswamy had offered to invest around Rs50 crore to help various cab driver unions start their own company under the name HDK Cabs amid protests by drivers in Bengaluru (and in Delhi) in February as many hail from small towns in rural Karnataka where the Janata Dal (Secular) is trying to increase its base ahead of next year’s assembly elections.
HDK Cabs was a non-starter, allowing the entry of TYGR which used the mobilization of driver unions and its political affiliation to its advantage.
“Any established industry has a union. If you have a workforce they will unionize. Across the globe, drivers are filing court cases saying they should be recognized as employees. We want to pre-empt that, which is where this union will help us,” Dipanjan Purkayastha, co-founder and chief business officer at TYGR, said on Wednesday while adding that Kumaraswamy helped the company scale up its driver count. The company operates in Kolkata and is looking to expand into smaller cities.
Tanveer Pasha, one of the catalysts behind the initiative to start HDK Cabs and leader of the Ola, TaxiForSure, Uber Drivers’ Association, said the drivers would return Kumaraswamy’s favour by voting and campaigning for the former chief minister.
TYGR will charge flat rates ranging from Rs12.5 per km for a hatchback, Rs14.5 per km for a sedan and Rs18.5 for a sports utility vehicle.