I was sadly stuck in a terrible traffic snarl today in an auto rickshaw, where I decide to ignite a chat in Bhojpuri infected Hindi. The crux of the conversation was to understand the adaptation of the non digital auto wallah, against their smart phone connected counterparts in OLA or Uber. The auto wallah said, you do not waste time, waiting for the OLA or Uber driver as he is not usually a local from this area. These drivers ask us for directions all the time. We are cheaper and own the roads.
When I asked about air conditioner and other comforts, the middle aged gentlemen quipped ‘there was no OLA five years back, and there were summers in Delhi then as well’
He complained about the traffic during the peak hours, as these are the times where they get rides or ‘bhada’. Where the OLA driver can fetch a ride at midnight in a jungle.
The Auto Wallah is strategising against digital disruption. I would like to understand more narratives on the ground of evolving livelihoods on the front lines of automation. Life is not only about numbers in a World Economic Forum Report. Local knowledge is a key USP.