How ride-hailing apps in Bengaluru compete to meet commuters’ demands 

Bengaluru has a host of ride-hailing apps on offer, which would you choose? Listen to what drivers and riders say about each of them.

Over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of ride-hailing apps in Bengaluru, from Namma Yatri to Nano Travels. The Karnataka government is even planning to launch its own ride-hailing app, as per reports. While some commuters continue to use Uber and Ola, there are some who are satisfied with local apps. This article analyses what alternative apps have to offer vis-a-vis Uber and Ola. 

Nano Travels: Benefiting drivers and commuters, following rules

G Narayana Swamy, a Bengaluru-based cab driver, is steering the ride-hailing industry with his Nano Travels, operating within a 70 km radius in the city. He developed it in response to challenges both drivers and customers faced on platforms such as Ola and Uber.

Before starting Nano Travels, Swamy was unemployed. He bought a second-hand Tata Nano car and that is when he started a cab service. He thinks the Nano car changed his life, so he named the app Nano Travels in honour of the car that he deemed lucky.

Initially, he started Nano Travels as a cab service, but in 2023, he changed it into a ride-hailing app. In 2020, he manually recorded ride details on a physical log sheet. By 2022, along with his team, he began developing the app due to growing demand. 

Swamy, who has experience working with Ola and Uber, identifies three major issues within the ride-hailing industry: High commission rates by cab aggregators, which cut into the earnings of cab drivers. Secondly, peak-hour price hikes for customers. Thirdly, Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) violations. 

What cab drivers say

Swamy claims his app benefits cab drivers. While cab aggregators charge 35-40 % commission, Nano Travels charges 5%. Gangappa, a cab driver, says, “Suppose I complete a ride of Rs. 1,000, Ola or Uber charges around Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 as commission, whereas Nano Travels charges only Rs. 50. It helps cab drivers make a (higher) profit.” 

He adds that his app benefits customers as well since trip prices remain constant during peak hours and there is no cancellation fee.

G Narayan Swamy
G Narayana Swamy says Nano Travels benefits cab drivers. Pic: Rohit Gharabude

Swamy also says that the app aids cab drivers to abide by the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA). A common violation is when a customer books a four-seater sedan, yet five people occupy that space. While the customer is the offender, the driver would have to pay the fine in case he happened to be caught by the police. None of the cab aggregators are willing to take the responsibility to make the registered cab drivers follow the rules, he says.

Swamy says, “We strictly follow the MVA. If the car permit allows four passengers, that means only four passengers will be taken. The cab driver will have to take a picture of the number of passengers sitting in the car, only then will he be able to start the ride.” 

The platform has 750 drivers registered on it currently. It provides rides within Bengaluru limits, including areas such as Whitefield, Peenya, Nelamangala, and Devanahalli. One can access the service on the app 24×7. Customers can book a ride immediately or schedule one for later. They have to buy an annual subscription of 125 km or 250 km; only then will they be able to book the ride. 

Swamy says, “The subscription has been made mandatory because some people book the cab and then cancel it. To avoid such scenarios, we have come up with this model.” 

Nano Travels has also garnered attention beyond city limits. Swamy says, “I am receiving investment and franchise-sharing offers from various cities in places such as Kolkata, Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh as well as Telangana. However, my priority is to establish Nano Travels in Bangalore before expanding in other cities.”

Read more: Breaking barriers: Meet Bengaluru’s women cab drivers

As a safety feature, Nano Travels provides the contact number of the founder for immediate assistance, unlike other cab aggregators that rely on chat support. Swamy assures customers, especially women, of enhanced safety features like SOS calls and location-sharing with family members, which will be available in the next update of the app. 

Swamy says, “I’m dedicated to immediate assistance for our users. Recognising the need for long-term sustainability, we’re exploring scalable solutions. Our focus is on efficient service through options like expanding the support team or introducing chat support.”

What commuters say

Vinayak K has been using Nano Travels right from the time when bookings were made via WhatsApp. Now, he is delighted with the app. He says, “It helps me save money because they have fixed charges even during peak hours.” The app is therefore a better alternative compared to Ola and Uber, which charge higher prices during peak hours.

Sometimes, daily commuters find it difficult to get a cab from their workplace, especially during peak hours. Devika S, a daily commuter, says, “I have been taking my car to the office every day because it is hard to get a cab in the evening. The subscription model of Nano Travels is affordable for daily commuters with scheduled pick-up and drop. It is a good feature.”

The Nano Travels app was developed by A&S technologies, a Bengaluru-based software company. It is available for Android as well as iOS users.


Tanveer Pasha, President, Ola Uber Drivers and Owners Association, says the commission rate is kept low in order to create a demand in the market. Without demand (for cab drivers), there is no supply  (of customers). He says, “From a practical perspective, it is hard to run the app on such a low commission rate.”

Vignesh U, a user of both Ola and Uber, says, “One of the demerits of Nano Travels is the subscription model. The pricing of the subscription is too high; very few would consider investing so much in advance unless they are daily commuters.”

Safety is the first priority for ride-hailing app users. Chaluvaraju, a cab driver working for Ola, says, “People will hardly trust a new ride-sharing app since safety is their priority. As Nano Travels is new to this market, it will take time for them to establish trust and build a reputation.”

Namma Yatri: No commission and middle men

Namma Yatri is an auto-hailing app that does not charge commission from auto drivers. It is a product of Bengaluru’s Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU). Built by Juspay Technologies and backed by the Beckn Foundation (one of the co-founders of which is Nandan Nilekani), the app was launched in November 2022 in partnership with the city’s auto drivers. However, as per recent reports, Namma Yatri has parted ways with ARDU.

It currently works using open source software and does not take any commission from drivers and is also available in Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC). ONDC is a technology platform backed by the Union government to facilitate direct seller-to-customer transactions, cutting out middlemen. The app has over 50 lakh downloads. Namma Yatri has 10,000 registered drivers. 

Namma Yatri app
Screenshot of Namma Yatri app. The app currently has 50 lakh downloads

According to the website, Namma Yatri is a Direct-to-Driver app and there is no commission or middlemen. All of what the customer pays goes to the driver. 

It claims to be India’s first open mobility app. The app has a dashboard where it shares all the data of live ongoing trips, completed trips, drivers earnings, registered drivers, customers details, and area-wise statistics on completed trips.

What drivers say

Venkatesh T, an auto driver, says, “Nano Travels doesn’t offer auto services; they only provide cab services. If they include auto service in the future, they will have to avoid charging commission from drivers, otherwise, it will be difficult for them to register auto drivers.”

Umar A, a registered auto driver for Namma Yatri, has been taking trips through Namma Yatri for more than a year. He says, “I get at least 25 to 30 trips daily and earn Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000. Other ride-hailing players charge at least 30% commission, which is a big loss for us.”

Kartik R, a registered Namma Yatri auto driver, says, “It’s beneficial for both drivers as well as customers. I have made many drivers join this app, and they are happy.”  

What commuters say

Kishan K, a professor, says, “If I’m booking an auto, I always prefer Namma Yatri, because I can easily get the autos whereas Ola or Uber takes more time.”

Shilpa T, a nurse at Sagar Hospital, says, “It’s easy to use this app. And the charges, as per the drop points, are also affordable. I always prefer this app to book an auto.”

Read more: When ride-hailing apps fail commuters, what could be the alternatives?


Preeti J, a junior architect, says, “You cannot add two locations at a time on the Namma Yatri app. Sometimes, if two people are traveling together and want to go to two different locations, they would not be able to use the app. If I am travelling with my colleague, I don’t use this app.”

Tanisha G, a data analyst, says, “The app provides the user with an extra tip feature, which isn’t a good practice when they’re not being charged a commission. That’s why many drivers deny the duty if the tip isn’t paid. This is the reason I don’t prefer this app anymore.” 

Rapido: Less expensive than Uber/Ola, but several challenges

Anant, a Rapido auto driver, notes, “They charge a commission of about 15-20% per ride, which is lower compared to Ola and Uber.”

Ganesh R, a Rapido cab driver, points out, “People don’t usually book cabs using Rapido. Since they have recently added this option, the price for an SUV or sedan is the same here. Consequently, it’s not profitable for the drivers.”

Vasu N, a Rapido bike rider, adds, “People do not trust Rapido bike riders due to numerous behavioural issues, particularly involving women. Sometimes the app doesn’t work properly.” 

Rapido bike taxi
Representative image. Rapido charges lower than Uber and Ola. Pic courtesy: Rapido Webportal

What commuters say

Rushank J, a student from Jain University, says, “The app has several glitches, such as not tracking the driver or failing to select the location. Additionally, the prices are higher compared to other apps.”

Darshan, a student from PES University, adds the point that it is challenging to find cabs using this app, and the waiting time is too long.

Tina K, an IT professional, says, “It only allows the addition of one location. If two people are travelling together and want to go to different places, that’s a problem.”

Good features

The safety toolkit is a valuable feature, offering various options such as sharing live location, adding trusted contacts, and 24×7 customer support. 

Rapido also allows users to send parcels, with a maximum weight limit of 5 kgs.


The fares are higher compared to other ride-hailing apps, and it lacks the option to add two locations simultaneously.

The platform is disadvantageous for cab drivers because it doesn’t distinguish between sedan, mini, and SUV, charging the same amount regardless of the car type.

Quick Ride: Tailored for software professionals

Quick Ride offers a convenient carpooling service tailored for tech parks and software professionals. It caters to both riders and ride givers, allowing users to either take a ride or offer one. Verification options include government-issued IDs like driver licenses, Aadhaar cards, or Voter IDs, as well as registration through official email IDs from the respective organisation. Additionally, Quick Ride provides taxi services alongside carpooling, enhancing its versatility for users.

What drivers say 

Anupam S, a software firm employee and a part-time ride provider at Quick Ride, says, “It helps navigate long, often boring, routine journeys with good company. That it partly covered my petrol expenses was only an extra benefit.” 

Zeeshan A, a cab driver registered with Quick Ride, says, “Taxi rides are rarely booked because awareness about this app is limited.”

What commuters say

Nisha A, a software firm employee, says, “Quick Ride’s carpooling feature reduces carbon emissions by optimising transportation efficiency through shared rides, minimising individual vehicles on the road and lowering overall fuel consumption.”

Arya S, an IT professional, says, “The waiting time is shorter for carpooling, and this app also allows you to set the taxi fare amount for the ride you are booking, making it a cost-effective option.”

Yash D, a daily commuter, says, “Locating taxi rides on this app can be challenging due to extended waiting times, and at times, securing a ride becomes uncertain.” 

Good features

Quick Ride’s carpooling service is a win-win for both ride providers and takers. It makes commuting convenient by allowing people to share rides, reducing individual travel expenses and contributing to a more sustainable and cost-effective transportation option.


This app is relatively unknown, and locating a taxi ride through it can be challenging due to extended waiting times. Carpooling apps like Quick Ride have also come under the scanner due to the recent announcement by the Karnataka government that non-commercial vehicles be utilised for commercial purposes. However, Quick Ride submitted a proposal to State Transport Minister, Ramalinga Reddy, to support carpooling as a solution to traffic congestion and pollution in the city.

Popularity and benefits of ride-hailing apps

According to Statista, a German online platform that specialises in data gathering and visualization, road travel seemed to be the preferred choice in India with around 60% of the population using personal or shared vehicles for commuting. Introducing ride-sharing apps expands commuter choices promoting shared rides and reducing individual vehicle numbers. 

Tarun K, a professor of Environmental Science, says, “Using ride-hailing apps helps reduce traffic jams because people can share rides. This means fewer personal vehicles on the road. Also, these apps make it easier to connect with public transport, making the overall travel system more efficient and better for the environment.”

How the govt capping cab fares will affect ride-hailing apps

According to reports, The Karnataka transport department, in an order issued on February 3, 2024, has implemented revised cab fares for aggregators across the state. The minimum fare for the first 4 kms is set at Rs. 100, with every subsequent km charged at Rs. 24 for entry-level cabs. The flexible-fare option, introduced in 2021, has been eliminated, requiring operators to adhere to fixed rates, resembling auto-rickshaw fares.

Vehicles are now categorised based on cost, with three tiers of fares. Changes in fare structure aim to address demands from taxi driver unions. The new rules are applicable to ride-hailing apps in Bengaluru and the rest of the state.

How this decision will impact ride-hailing apps:

  • Reduced revenue: Capping fares would directly impact the earnings of ride-hailing companies, which currently use surge pricing and other dynamic pricing models to maximise profits during peak hours or high-demand periods. This could lead to lower overall revenue and profitability.
  • Driver dissatisfaction: Drivers might become unhappy with lower earnings due to fare caps, potentially leading to reduced driver availability and longer wait times for riders. This could create a negative feedback loop, further reducing demand for the service.
  • Reduced service quality: In an attempt to maintain profitability with lower fares, companies might cut corners on service quality, such as reducing maintenance on vehicles or offering fewer driver amenities. This could lead to a decline in customer satisfaction.
  • Limited innovation: Lower profit margins could discourage investment in new technologies and features, potentially hindering the app’s ability to innovate and compete in the long run.

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