Mumbai Taxi Drivers Take Uber-Ola Head On; Launch Own App

Mumbai taxi drivers haven’t been the biggest fans of cab hailing companies Uber and Ola. Seeing their business slip away from under them, they’ve resorted to protests, strikes, and political posturing to get these companies out of Mumbai. But their efforts have been in vain – consumers have responded with their feet, and Ola and Uber have made rapid inroads into the city. 

But now Mumbai’s iconic “kaali-peeli” taxi owners are trying to take on cab hailing startups at their own game. The city’s two major taxi unions have prepared an app through which black-and-yellow taxis can be booked just like aggregator cabs. The app is called “9211” and will be launched by the end of the month.


“All kali-peeli drivers will be asked to enrol for the app, which ideally should be used by customers to book taxis across the city ,” said Prem Singh, leader, Mumbai Taxi Association. “We will provide you service at the doorstep.”

The 9211 app will show users the locations of registered taxis in their vicinity. Fares will be as per goverment regulations, starting at Rs. 22 for the first 1.5 kms. The rest of the process runs much like other cab hailing companies. Payments however, will be made in cash at the completion of the ride. 

The taxi unions claim that the app has several add ons – the app will have security features for women traveling alone, and each cab will be tracked in real time from a control room. The app will also have an SOS button for police response in case of emergencies.

Currently Ola also has a provision to book the black-and-yellow taxis, but only about 3,500 such taxis are registered under it. In comparison, the two unions have a membership of 20,000 taxis in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. 
While it remains to be seen how successful the app will be and what its adoption rates would be like, one thing is for certain – the competition is from an area that Uber and Ola wouldn’t have anticipated.  
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