Week after launch amid fanfare, bike taxis off Mohali roads as drivers unhappy with Uber | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Week after launch amid fanfare, bike taxis off Mohali roads as drivers unhappy with Uber

More than 50 bike taxi riders, who saw a bright future at the time of the launch on July 25, have taken their vehicles off road. They say the firm has gone back on its commitment to follow incentive-based payment system.

punjab Updated: Aug 02, 2017 20:52 IST
Vivek Gupta
Uber ‘baxi’ drivers protest against the company in Phase 9, Mohali, on Wednesday.
Uber ‘baxi’ drivers protest against the company in Phase 9, Mohali, on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Barely a week after the Punjab government launched its flagship ‘Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme by flagging off bike taxis in Mohali in partnership with Uber, the riders are up in arms against the app-based transportation firm for changing the payment model overnight.

More than 50 bike taxi riders, who saw a bright future at the time of the launch on July 25, have taken their vehicles off road.

They are protesting against the US-based company, accusing it of making it difficult for them to survive in the business. They say the firm has gone back on its commitment to follow incentive-based payment system.

Fifty-two-year-old grandmother Paramjeet — who became the face of the scheme, being the first female bike taxi rider — too joined the protesters, claiming she would no longer operate the vehicle.

“I decided to ride bike taxi to supplement my family income. But what is the use of working if I am unable to earn anything despite putting in hours?” she said, accusing Uber of not fulfilling its promise.

‘New model not viable’

Bike rider Malkit Singh, who operates in Mohali, said Uber promised fixed payment of Rs 105 per hour, irrespective of number of rides per day. “Last night we were shifted to another system, whereby we will only be paid on the basis of number of rides we attempt. This is not acceptable since we are not getting enough rides,” he said.

Gurmukh Singh from Kharar said despite spending 10 hours, he made just Rs 400 on Tuesday, of which 25% went to the firm as commission and nearly Rs 200 was spent on fuel. “Am I fool here to work for Rs 70-80 per day, which is even below minimum wage?” he questioned. 

Shivtar Singh from Kurali said the business is not picking up in the region after the Chandigarh administration banned their entry. “The company should provide some support in initial stages,” he said.

Uber silent, govt says will look into matter

The bike taxis were launched amid much fanfare by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal on July 25, who had claimed that it will generate at least one lakh jobs every year. After Uber, Ola too plans to launch the service in many cities.

“If this is the way the Punjab government wants to generate employment, it’s better they don’t do anything,” said Lakhwinder Singh, a bike taxi rider. “The government should check a scheme’s viability before launch.”

Despite repeated calls, Uber's Delhi-based communication team did not release any statement.

Bhawna Garg, secretary, employment generation and training, Punjab, said she will look into the matter.