The members of the All Guwahati Cab Owners and Drivers Association who are running Ola and Uber cabs have reportedly gone on a three-day strike, starting today.
The Ola and Uber drivers have asserted that decreased incentives are the reason for the protest. They have complained that their margins are getting affected and their business is suffering as new drivers are joining the platform. Therefore, the Association wants the cab aggregators to stop enrolling new drivers.
Ismail Ali, President of the Association said, “The company assured us an income of about $1160 (INR 75,000) per month, but now we earn between $386-$464 (INR 25,000-INR 30,000) per month. The EMI for my vehicle is about $208 (INR 13,500) and there are other overhead expenses. If Ola and Uber do not respond to our demands then we will go on an indefinite strike.”
The cab drivers also complained about bad connectivity in the city, due to which they were unable to locate the customer. Ali also demanded a charge of INR 50 be levied if the customer’s phone is switched off.
An Uber spokesperson said, “With sustained high demand from both riders and drivers in Guwahati we can shift from startup mode to a more sustainable business model and begin reducing higher levels of incentives and invest more in drivers and our products for the long- term.”
Along with the non-responsiveness fine, the Association has also demanded the withdrawal of the rating system. This is because many customers do not understand the rating system and end up giving the driver a poor rating despite receiving good service.
Ola, Uber Drivers And The Issues
Cab aggregators in India have been facing a lot of problems for quite some time now. Last week, in a new turn of events, India’s largest public sector bank SBI (State Bank of India) reportedly suspended the car loans for Ola and Uber taxis across multiple cities. The move was in response to increasing defaults by cab drivers.
Strikes are not an uncommon phenomenon for the beleaguered companies. In November 2016, 12,000 Ola and Uber cab drivers had gone off the road in Guwahati having started a 36-hours strike. 2016 and 2017, for the most part, were marked by bans, strikes, driver protests and legal encounters for cab aggregators in places such as Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai among others.
In January 2017, the cab drivers had once again gone on strike in Bengaluru. Later in February 2017, UberPOOL and Ola Share services had been declared illegal by the Government of Karnataka. The Karnataka High Court gave the companies a 15-day extension to comply with the rules regarding the ride-sharing services.
In the same month, Ola, Uber drivers had also gone on an indefinite strike in Delhi-NCR, demanding for higher incentives and discontinuing shared rides. The strike was called off after 13 days when the government assured both the parties that they would provide a platform between both Ola, Uber and the drivers where the drivers could raise their issues.
(The development was reported by Financial Express)