A faction of autorickshaw owners and drivers say they plan to join ride hailing apps such as Uber and Pathao from next year.
“Around 40,000 autorickshaw drivers will come under this service,” said Shakhawat Hossain Dulal, secretary of Dhaka Autorickshaw Workers’ Union.
Autorickshaw drivers said their daily incomes had fallen by a third after ride hailing apps like Uber and Pathao started operations in Bangladesh.
“The number of trips we make has declined,” one driver told the Dhaka Tribune. “I used to earn about Tk1,000 before, but now it has come down to about Tk300.”
On Monday, autorickshaw workers’ unions in Dhaka and Chittagong called a 48-hour strike on December 27-28 to press home their demands, including banning app-based transport services like Uber and Pathao, according to a press statement. The move drew widespread condemnation from commuters.
Companies running the ride sharing apps reportedly invited auto-rickshaw owners and drivers to join them.
Also Read- Commuters take stand against CNG autorickshaw drivers for their call to ban Uber, Pathao
There are over 26,000 autorickshaws in Dhaka and Chittagong. Although the government has set the fare, most autorickshaw drivers charge exorbitant amounts.
Dulal said he believed joining ride hailing apps would end the squabbling over fares. “We have decided to join the services and had talks with a ride sharing company on training the drivers,” he said.
Dhaka Metropolitan CNG Owners Association President Barkatullah Bulu said Uber and Hellow had offered them to join hands but his organization was yet to decide on it.
Hellow Ride, an auto rickshaw ride sharing service, was launched recently.
“Autorickshaws have been continuously losing customers to ride hailing services,” said Rinku Jamal, coordinator of Hellow Ride. “So we made an app to help the autorickshaws get more customers.”
He said they had already trained 100 more drivers on how to operate the application on their mobile phones.
About the fare, he said, passengers availing rides using their apps will have to pay an extra Tk30, beside the fare set by the government.