In the wake of the recent strike between cab aggregators Ola, Uber, and their drivers, the government has backed out of the tiff, saying that it cannot intervene in the matter. As per an ET report, the government’s refusal comes because the taxi companies are charging more than the prices mandated by the government.
The new development comes right after yesterday, when it was reported that 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 drivers in Bengaluru have started an indefinite strike as a result of the companies’ move to acquire more cars, that has led to shrinking incentives for the current drivers.
Following the government’s decision, the drivers have now threatened to scale up their protests.
As per the same ET report, the government demanded a flat, pre-approved rate to be followed by the online taxi hailing platforms – INR 19.5 per km for AC vehicles and INR 14.5 per km for non-AC vehicles. Currently, Ola and Uber charge INR 6 or INR 7 per km, varying with the type of vehicle. In addition to that, the companies also charges a base rate of INR 40 and ride time charges of INR 1 per minute.
Talking about the development, Tanveer, a coordinator for Ola-TaxiForSure-Uber (OTU) Drivers’ and Owners’ Union told ET, “The irresponsibility of RTOs is clear. The officials categorically said they cannot help us because the companies are complying with the aggregator rules enforced in the state. I think we have to up the momentum of our protest, may be commit suicide in front of Vidhana Soudha to make the government realise what pains we are going through. Low fares are drilling deep holes in our pockets but they are benefiting people who use these services and the companies. The government is, therefore, unwilling to budge.”
The drivers are demanding that the companies should increase fares as per the government-approved rates, so that it does not hamper their incentives.
Ola and Uber have had a rough time in the recent past. 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 that month, cab drivers associated with Uber, Ola had started a 36-hour strike in Guwahati protesting against the revised incentives.