Uber model is hurting customers & drivers

July 01, 2016, Chennai

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Mobile app based cab services have successfully entered our lives and they are here to stay. What's with predictions that the future belongs to cabs without drivers. Chennai is not complaining at all - we have suffered the auto rickshaw menace in more ways than one. Losing one's dignity with an auto driver can be truly a humbling experience.

Aunts who know how to negotiate with auto drivers are treated as super heroes in family events.

However, Uber (and the competition ought to copy or follow) seems to have rolled out some incentive plans. The driver is required to complete 16 - 18 trips a day to get incentives - here's what's wrong with that:

At the end of the day drivers start refusing trips that are more than 10 - 12 kilometres. Most likely, you will be in a cab past midnight and the driver is not too keen to take you home - especially if you are living in the suburbs. What would be the purpose of a late night cab service that would not take me home?

The way out is to use two or three hops (separate cab rides) to get to your destination. This definitely puts passenger safety at risk.

The other more serious issue is that the driver stays on the wheel to get to two more trips to gain his incentive - if one rule about driving has not changed since my great grandfather's time, never compel a driver to stay on the wheel.

Uber should improve on this incentive model immediately and let the drive call it a day when they choose to do so. Or, Uber can throw technology that monitors the driver's pupil and shut off the car!

Sarcasm aside, Uber is a technology company that competes with Google. We sure hope that Uber will come up with a model that gives the driver some brownie points for the distance covered alongside the number of trips. Pushing the number of trips does not sound smart.