Online cab aggregators Ola and Uber are reportedly at odds with their drivers regarding the revised incentive rates by the companies. Yesterday, January 23, 2017 saw hundreds of drivers gathering at Freedom Park and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru.
The drivers of the two companies have started an indefinite strike in Bengaluru. The strike has been a result of the companies’ move to acquire more cars, that has led to shrinking incentives for the current drivers. As per a report by The Hindu, the commissions mandated to be paid to the aggregator, per ride were 10% up until early last year. It has been hiked to 30%, recently.
Talking about the development, Tanveer, a coordinator for Ola-TaxiForSure-Uber (OTU) Drivers’ and Owners’ Union told The Hindu, “They are making us run around in circles. One day they ask us to register our demands individually, the next day they say we must form a group. No one has approached us to even hear what we have to say. Now they are threatening police action against striking drivers. But we don’t intend to stop.”
When contacted by Inc42, an official spokesperson from Uber said, “We strive to be a mobility option for everyone in Bengaluru and we regret the disruption caused to our rider and driver community by a small group of individuals. We remain committed to serving the city, ensuring driver partners can continue to access a stable income, while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around their city.”
According to an official statement, the Minister for Transport and Bengaluru Development, Ramalinga Reddy will conduct a meeting with the company representatives later this week, along with the drivers.
Cab aggregators in India have had to face a lot of glitches in operations so far. In July 2016, the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union called for an indefinite strike against app-based taxi services in New Delhi. In August, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to Ola and Uber to stop surge pricing and follow government prescribed fares.
In September 2016, reports surfaced that the Indian Government is planning to establish a maximum limit on fares to monitor surge pricing by online cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. In October 2016, the Maharashtra government released the draft of Maharashtra City Taxi Rules, 2016. In this regard, cab aggregator Uber raised an objection to Maharashtra’s draft rules to regulate ride-hailing apps on three fronts, the proposed restrictions on engine capacity, price tags for permits, and pricing.
Following that, in November 2016, the Karnataka High Court dismissed Uber’s request to scuttle the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rule, 2016, while upholding the government’s rights, ruled in favour of the State Government. Later the same month, the drivers also started a 36-hour strike in Guwahati protesting against the revised incentives.