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Ola-Uber Driver Strike Enters Day 8; Commuters Marred By Wait Time, Surge Pricing

Ola-Uber Driver Strike Enters Day 8; Commuters Marred By Wait Time, Surge Pricing

The battle between cab aggregators Ola, Uber, and their drivers in Delhi continues for the eighth day.

Last week on Friday, the Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi had called for a strike. Six taxi-driver associations were a part of this strike. As per reports, five of the taxi associations withdrew from the protests after Monday, February 13, 2017.

The protesters were demanding better perks and to be paid as per government sanctioned fare i.e. INR 21/km and accident insurance, among other things.

There were also reports of violent protestors vandalising the cabs on the road and removing the Ola/Uber devices from the cabs.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Transport Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain on Thursday had asked the city Police to crackdown on violent protesters. While speaking about the measures taken by the government to control the situation, he said: “On reports of driver violence and damage to property I would urge the police to take strict and stern measures.  This violence and vandalism on the roads cannot continue. Unless action is taken, it’s almost like the vandalism is being allowed. No one can be given an opportunity to take the law in their hands. Those who want to protest should then stay home. How can they be roaming on the streets and vandalising cars.”

On Monday, it was reported that Uber had managed to win an injunction against the protestors at Delhi High Court. Later, Ola also won an injunction against the protestors.

In an official statement, Ola said, “We are seeing more and more drivers getting back to work on the Ola platform over the last 48 hours. We are happy to be able to serve more and more customers as the supply situation has begun to improve. Seamless mobility for consumers and sustainable livelihoods for driver-entrepreneurs on the Ola platform are of utmost priority to us.”

In a more recent development, earlier this afternoon, the Delhi High Court passed an order strongly condemning the violent ways of protestors in the city.

Commenting on the order, an Uber spokesperson said, “The Delhi High Court’s order today reaffirmed that no one can engage in violence or prevent drivers who wish to drive using apps like Uber from doing so. We’re dismayed that violence and intimidation of drivers has continued, despite a court order on February 13, prohibiting such actions. Continued disruptions will harm drivers looking to earn an honest living, and riders looking to move around Delhi. We’re also grateful that the Hon’ble Court has directed the Police to take appropriate action to stop this cycle of intimidation.”

The protests have also resulted in decreased earnings for the drivers, forcing them to return to the roads. But the reports of violence against cab drivers taking up cab rides deterred a majority of drivers to do so.

At the same time, users in the capital are facing difficulties in commuting. Users are facing disruptions in cab availability. At several locations, cabs are either showing no cab-availability or a 15-20 min wait time along with surge price up to 2X.

Ola-Uber’s Loss, Other’s Gain

Cashing in on the growing agitation among these drivers, autorickshaw aggregator Jugnoo announced its foray into the taxi aggregation business.

Shuttl ride bookings are also experiencing a 25% spike in daily bookings across routes and clusters. The new bookings are mostly from people who earlier opted for UberPOOL, Ola Share options, as per a company spokesperson.

Revv which is a car-sharing platform claims to have witnessed a 40% increase in its bookings on weekdays. Even platforms like Orahi –  a car-pooling platform – noticed an increase of 27% in traffic and 32% in rides.