Maa Ula, is a taxi service with a difference. Started last year by Balaji in Chennai and then helped along by the co-founder Mohammad Gadaffi (who gave the service its name), Maa Ula, according to Balaji is the first-ever bike taxi service run by differently-abled people in the country.
The word 'Maa' is from ‘maatru thirunaaligal' which in Tamil means differently-abled while the word Ula means journey and in turn, Maa Ula comes to mean ‘a journey with the differently-abled'. Maa Ula was started in January 2015.
The journey of Maa Ula started when one of Balaji's teachers, who the differently abled founder of the bike taxi service used to drop off everyday suggested that he should take people on the back seat of his scooter and charge them a fare.
The first month of his bike taxi venture, according to the news minute, earned Balaji Rs 12,000 and after Gadaffi joined, the duo went around getting other differently-abled people to join the fledgeling service.
Now 11 people have joined up with Maa Ula and Balaji claims that each of them takes home around Rs 15,000 every month after paying off their fuel bills. While at first Balaji had to hunt around for customers, the service uses posters and stickers on the bikes to alert customers about Maa Ula and has steadily built a devout fan base in the city of Chennai.
Maa Ula's pocket-friendly fares help keep customers happy, with bike riders charging Rs 10/km during morning hours and Rs 13/km during the night.
Over time, Maa Ula has garnered a loyal customer-base, who use the service. However, like anything new, Maa Ula has faced opposition from the status quo, with autorickshaw drivers seeing them as competition.
Maa Ula is currently in talks with developers to help build an app to help it connect with more people along with its customer base.The service plans to expand into other districts across the state. Here's to wishing them all the best for the future.