The kind of safety offered to the passengers by the cab aggregators has come under intense scrutiny, of late. Hiring a cab a few years ago was hard, time consuming and cumbersome. Today, technology has made it much easier to book a cab. In just a few minutes of making a booking on the app, the cab arrives at the door steps. While there is no denying the fact that hailing a cab service has become easier, there are many potential threats and insecurities the passengers, especially women, face in matters relating to their safety. Instances of physical violence, abuse and sexual assault against passengers have been reported in the media, sending shock waves across the country. Though the enactment of standalone laws and framing rules may help, the responsibility to provide safer rides to passengers squarely falls on the cab aggregators and operators.
At the very outset, having a detailed verification process in place to ascertain the antecedents of the drivers is important. People with criminal background and poor character record can be kept at bay. Carrying out the verification process is the first step by which the cab providers can assure safety to their customers. Since most of the offences are committed by people who have an unsatisfactory track record, seeking the help of independent background verification companies and the police department to verify the track record of drivers can go a long way in offering safe and secure travel to the customers.
The Chennai-based startup UTOO Cabs, eyeing a bigger pie in the app-based taxi booking industry, is firming up the background verification process of its drivers. The Cab operator, with plans to expand to untapped tier-2 cities, has put in place a strict verification process before hiring new drivers. “Safety and security of our customers continues to be our top most priority,” says Fazil Badrudeen, Brand Head, UTOO.
Drivers at UTOO are selected after a strict scrutiny of both skill and personality. All our drivers have a face-to-face interview before being selected. Once selected, a physical address verification and Aadhar verification is carried out along with a mandatory health checkup. “To ensure our drivers have a clean character record, we also insist on Police Verification Certificate prior to joining us,” adds Fazil.
The cab operator has set a lofty target of becoming a name synonymous to safety and security in the taxi hailing space. “Taking on the existing players in the industry has been on the radar right from the time of UTOO’s inception,” says Fazil. Currently, in terms of safety, customer-experience and cleanliness, we stand ahead of the rest, and this certainly will help us grab a bigger pie in the app-based taxi-booking space.”
At present, UTOO operates from Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad with a fleet strength of about 1000 cabs, and has plans to expand to 8 more cities in the future. Significantly, the operator does not resort to surge charging or peak pricing at any point of the day. This means, the prices will remain the same irrespective of whether the cab is hired during Peak-Hours or Off-peak hours.
UTOO: Company Profile
UTOO is a premier mobile app-based cab hailing service which was launched on 9th June, 2016. Headquartered in Chennai, the company aims to redefine and refresh the daily commute and a customer’s varied transportation needs, through a seamless management of superior rides, transparent pricing and driver empowerment schemes. At UTOO we aim “to make cab rides comfortable, friendly, safe and affordable.”
The company’s journey began soon after its would-be founders were abjectly dismayed by the poor experience of booking a ride to the airport. After waiting endlessly for the cab to arrive, the car that arrived was poorly maintained, the driver had limited navigation skills and the pricing was exorbitant. This was the tipping point for the founders which led them to realize that the need of the hour was a professional cab hailing service.
Thus, UTOO was born, and is in the process of creating history. The UTOO team identified a niche gap in the taxi hailing business in India, currently growing at about 20- 25% annually. The sector was dominated by a few local and international players and the founders saw a great scope for innovation and improvement.
Customer Focus: Service driven philosophy
UTOO’s service driven philosophy is designed to gain synergies from both a transparent approach and a strong focus on technological innovation. It’s strict No Surge Pricing policy forms the bedrock of its relationship with customers. A Loyalty Program to reward frequent customers is also on the anvil. Its current fleet comprises of Datsun Go+ vehicles in the UTOO Compact segment and Nissan Sunny vehicles in the Sedan segment, complementing its mission of providing safe, comfortable and reliable transportation.
Employee Focus: ‘Prosperity Quotient’
UTOO as a company has intentionally worked on developing a Driver Partner Strategy that is innovative. The company ensures that its driver partners are provided fair and equitable earnings, in addition to being involved in several welfare schemes. With an endeavor of wealth creation for its Driver Partners, UTOO offers 100% home loan to its qualified drivers under its revolutionary UTOO Driver Housing Scheme. In addition, UTOO Is working to reduce and manage the physical stress of drivers with UTOO Support Centers across its operating locations. Its landmark Driver Empowerment Programs aims to improve their overall quality of life and motivation levels, while also ensuring that the customers always receive professional service.
UTOO initiated operations with a fleet strength of around 500 cars in Chennai, and soon after started offering services in Hyderabad and Bangalore. The company plans to expand to 8 more cities and add at least 100,000 cars in the near future. In the days to come, UTOO is poised to cement its premier position in the national market with a clear customer focused approach, welfare of its drivers and a world class service standard.