In a recent meeting, the Mumbai district administration has asked the regional transport office to count on the possibility of hiring app-based cabs like Ola and Uber to perform election duty. If granted permission, for the first time in the history of elections in India, cab aggregators will officially be hired to perform election duty.
The cabs will be used to facilitate transportation of polling booth staff a day before the election day. The elections in Maharashtra is scheduled in 4 phases between April 11 to April 29 and Mumbai constituencies will witness the voting on April 29.
Till now, RTO hired traditional black-and-yellow cabs through unions to carry the polling booth staffs around the city. The district administrations are trying to tie up with Ola and Uber on a per-day basis, says Shivaji Jondhale, district collector of Mumbai suburban district.
However, Ola and Uber have not yet commented on the matter. An estimation by the RTO suggests that the city demands 20-25 per cent more vehicles for the duty in the 2019 elections as compared to previous polls in 2014. In the last Lok Sabha polls, the district administration hired 5,000 vehicles including 1,200 buses.
The heavy demand for taxis during the election may create difficulty for daily commuters in Mumbai. Earlier during the assembly elections in Karnataka, people faced a constant delay in cab arrivals in Bengaluru as these cabs were unofficially used for election duty. However, it will be interesting to see how cab aggregators collaborate with the government and use their technology to help conduct the polls smoothly.