Three wheels, an unmistakable sputtering sound, and the ability to navigate the narrowest of lanes—the auto-rickshaw or ‘auto’ is ubiquitous to Indian roads. Even many Southeast Asian roads (think: Tuk-tuks), for that matter.
The humble auto is colourful, has character, is convenient, but isn’t comfy. And that’s where air-conditioned cabs and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Ola traditionally come in. To offer the comfort and safety of a car, minus the heat and dust of the outside world. So why, then, have these companies entered the auto category?
Because ride-hailing is no longer the hot market it was 10 years ago, when Ola and Uber set up in India.