I recently traveled to multiple cities and most of the travel in these cities was done in Uber – either a cab or an auto.

Being used to the professionalism of a typical Uber driver in Mumbai, I was shocked to see the professionalism of drivers in Kolkata. Drivers routinely cancelled the trip from their end. Either they didn’t want to go on trips with multiple stops or pick up from odd places. Not to mention, their disregard for traffic rules. And of course, most cabs smelled of cigarettes. An Uber driver who drove both in Mumbai and Kolkata revealed a gem of an insight – most Uber drivers in Kolkata don’t own the cars and are employed as drivers and are paid basis the number of trips they do. So, it’s in their best interest to show higher number of trips. By routinely cancelling a trip if the customer fails to reach the car within 5 minutes of the car arriving at the pickup point, not only do they get a small compensation but they also get to show higher number of trips.

At the other end are drivers from Bengaluru and Hyderabad who will not switch on the AC during early morning trips. They are typically the ones who take out a loan to purchase a vehicle to drive for Uber. The reason, they want to save on fuel! Whoever told them that driving a vehicle with windows rolled down is more economical than with windows rolled up and AC on?

Whatever the reason, the variation in service levels and professionalism of the drivers is huge and the is an opportunity for a competitor to take some share by playing this card.