Digital Taxi Aggregators: Driving Past Caste
Hardnews|October 2015
Digital Taxi Aggregators: Driving Past Caste
Application-based cab aggregators have disrupted old business models. Hiring drivers was once the preserve of old taxi stands who relied on various forms of kinship such as regionalism and caste.
Abeer Kapoor

As the taxi sped through empty Delhi roads, the driver turned back and ruminated, “Everything is so different now. The old taxi stands are dead, they have no purpose anymore.’’ Digital taxi aggregators, such as Uber and Ola, have changed the way we hail or book a taxi and in turn, have disrupted the established taxi business.

However, this isn’t all that has been transformed by this technological innovation. These operators have also transformed the way taxi drivers are now hired, overthrowing the old system of recruitment and incorporating a more contemporary process.

The success of these aggregators rests largely on their ability to get drivers with commercial licenses to come onboard. In their drive to get them to hitch themselves to an Uber and Ola, they are breaking kinship and region based modes of recruitment, resorted to traditional taxi stands. In the past, communities such as the Yadavs and Singhs would run these businesses. Driving jobs usually went to people from the village or those who belonged to the same caste as the owner. In the process, those who did not fit these qualifications were filtered out from these taxi stands.

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October 2015