Right after facing backlash in Karnataka and Delhi, the Maharashtra government, is facing major flak from taxi and auto rickshaw unions. This may soon lead to imposition of restrictions on the functioning of app-based taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola operate in the state.
People familiar of the development suggested that the BJP government in Maharashtra, had so far resisted the pressure. But it is now apprehensive of the political cost of ‘offending’ such a large number of taxi and auto rickshaw drivers.
A government official at the condition of anonymity told ET, “There are 1 lakh auto rickshaw drivers in the city and about 30,000 taxi drivers, so if each driver has a family of three, then the number comes to around 5 lakh people. So you are potentially antagonising five lakh voters during the civic elections in Mumbai and Thane.”
He, however, clarified that the state is still weighing other ideas to make sure that taxi and auto rickshaw unions don’t have a ground to complain. “We are working on a plan where taxi and auto rickshaws can also operate like Uber and Ola with flexible fare structures,” he explained.
In fact, one of the unions called off a strike that was scheduled to start from Tuesday based on assurances from the government. A spokesperson said, that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured them of bringing a new regulation for app-based aggregators in a week’s time.
Just yesterday, Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union have called for an indefinite strike against app-based taxi services in New Delhi. The city taxi rivals believe that despite of not having permit to run taxis in Delhi, Ola-Uber are operating fearlessly and taking away their livelihoods.
According to Joint Action Committee of 20 transport unions, the auto and taxi (yellow-black) unions of domestic and international airports have extended their support and they would also participate in the strike.
Response from Ola and Uber about the same is awaited.
Earlier in April 2016, after Karnataka government’s decision to curb surge pricing by taxi aggregator, reports emerged that Maharashtra government was planning to adopt the same. As per reports, the state transport department is planning adopt concrete policies on fare fixation to curb surge pricing.