Anatomy of a driver mixup

By March 12, 2014 Autos No Comments

What are the odds of an mGaadi customer mistakenly getting into ‘another’ mGaadi auto?

To answer this question, I must first tell you how customers and drivers are supposed to find each other.

After we successfully assign a driver to a customer’s trip, appropriate SMSs get sent to customers and drivers. The customer SMS includes the name and mobile# of the driver and also the auto’s registration #. Android and Windows Phone customers also get additional details like the picture of the driver (when it’s available), what languages the driver speaks, color of the auto (green or black), etc.

We also have the mGaadi sticker. The sticker has not been distributed to all the enrolled drivers and is also not enforced. So we don’t know what percentage of the 1,100+ auto rickshaws sport the mGaadi sticker.

The answer to my original question is “low”. In fact, in our service’s brief existence a mixup has never happened.

Until yesterday.

Last evening, a customer arrived at the pickup location, saw an auto sporting the mGaadi sticker and promptly clambered in. A st cursory (and careless) examination of the auto display card didn’t ring any alarm belle – the first syllable of the driver’s name matched with the assigned driver’s name so the customer announced the destination and off they merrily went. Meanwhile, they left behind a highly miffed driver who had incurred “dead miles” to reach the pickup location for a trip (of reasonable length) that he was promised 45 min ago. Ouch.

Why is this blog worthy?

Firstly, this is a reminder that we need to do a better job of communicating to customers that they should double, -check the auto registration number and driver’s name before getting in to the auto.

Secondly, it’s heartening that while the 1,100 drivers are but a tiny speck (relative to Bangalore’s overall auto population of 160,000), we still had a mixup between TWO mGaadi autos.


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