Govt to look into “unfair practices” of Ola and Uber
After the flood of complaints on India's two biggest ride-hailing apps Ola and Uber of late, the government has announced that the can aggregators will be quizzed on certain “unfair practices”.
As voices of dissent grow among the public against India's two biggest ride-hailing apps Ola and Uber over a few alleged unfair practices, the government announced today that it is all set to meet the cab aggregators and quiz them over the issues.
Demand for the apps is growing everyday as more and more people shift to working from office in Bengaluru. However, a range of different issues is hitting supply from back end. Tanveer Pasha, the president of Ola and Uber drivers’ association in Bengaluru, told media last week that only around 30,000 cabs are on the roads today as compared to the 1 lakh-odd cabs that were in the city during the pre-COVID times.
Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have also come under fire as cab drivers adopted a ‘no AC’ policy amid fuel price hikes and low commissions. After West Bengal, New Delhi, Noida and Telangana, Bengaluru's cab drivers also started a ‘no AC’ policy in early April to bring forward the difficulties faced by cabbies amid soaring fuel prices and commissions.
Petrol prices first crossed the Rs. 100 mark in Bengaluru in March and hit a high of Rs. 111.09 for the last week and more. Many users of the Ola and Uber apps reported having experiences wherein cab drivers demanded extra fare from passengers for switching on the air conditioning, or cited COVID rules for not doing so.
While there were very few cab drivers who explained their financial burdens to the passengers, most drivers denied amenities and said that AC is included only in the Prime and sedan bookings.
Over half the cabbies that worked in Bengaluru have not come back from their hometowns after leaving in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. They are choosing to do so due to the high commissions they have to pay the aggregators per ride. This commission reportedly is about 30%. Combining that with the monthly EMIs for the cab, house rents, and paying for fuel out of their own pockets, they are preferring to take up jobs at their family business like farming and construction.
Bengaluru's cost of living is also on the rise with inflation. Many cab drivers have therefore sold off their cars because they are unable to pay the EMIs.
Therefore, Bengaluru's working class are facing repeated cancellations and a long wait time for rides to get assigned. Users of the ride-hailing apps took their woes to Twitter, with one user writing: "I wish life was like Uber. You book a cab it say 4 min away. No driver turns up for the next 20 mins. And when you cancel and book an Ola the Uber guy charges you penalty of 50 rupees. Awesome"
Another user said, "It’s easy (sic) to a get job in Bengaluru than to find Ola/Uber driver who will accept the ride."