Why Ola, Uber cab drivers are refusing to switch on their ACs in Bengaluru
The country's two most-used hailing apps Ola and Uber are under fire as cab drivers have adopted a ‘no AC’ policy amid fuel price hikes and low commissions.
After West Bengal, New Delhi, Noida and Telangana, Bengaluru's cab drivers have now started a ‘no AC’ policy to bring forward the difficulties faced by Ola and Uber drivers amid a fuel price hike and low commissions.
This unfortunately comes at a time of blistering heat as April is the warmest month for Bengaluru, with an average high-temperature of 35.8°C according to weather forecasts.
Petrol price in the state increased to Rs. 109.82 per litre by April 5, from the 100.14 per litre recorded on March 28.
Cab drivers from other cities have also demanded extra fare from passengers for switching on the air conditioning. A few passengers in Bengaluru have also reported similar experiences wherein cab drivers refuse to switch on the AC.
Cab drivers would avoid turning on the ACs by citing either COVID-19 protocols or saying that AC is included only in the Ola Prime and sedan bookings.
Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU) also started a ‘no AC’ campaign in Hyderabad in late March for the same reasons. However, it was reported that drivers would explain to the passengers in a non-confrontational manner the reasons for not providing a cool ride, citing the hike in petrol and diesel prices and a low commission per ride.
Cab drivers associations from various parts of the country are reaching out to their respective state governments for concessions and subsidies, hoping for some relief as the fuel price hikes and low commissions put together are burning a hole in cabbies pockets.
A user on Twitter by the name Rahul Shukla wrote a message about the issue tagging the Ola cabs handle and founder Bhavish Aggarval, “Your cab driver in Bang(alore) do not switch on AC citing comp diktat due to covid & they do not wear mask. On raising complain no action or part refund is done. When we book a cab it is implied that it will have AC if needed. I would rather take an auto if it isn't so.”
Another Twitter user called Purnima M. Mishra wrote, "@Olacabs I am in an Ola trip right now from Mahadevapura to Bilekahalli, Bengaluru. I was trying to book a Ola Mini but my ride got upgraded to Ola Prime Sedan. Now when I ask the driver to turn on the AC, he denies saying 'Ola Mini me AC nahi hota'. Kindly Act."
A user called Reema Lal on Facebook also added her experience writing that, “I booked a Prime Sedan Ola rider because my last Ola mini ride driver refused to switch on the AC. But guess what my Ola Prime driver too refused to turn on the AC on a burning afternoon. Tried to search for a place to log this complain...but it is next to impossible on their app.”
On the other hand, a user called Syed Kaleem Mohiyuddin sympathized with the cab drivers, writing, “Poor cab drivers can't afford to switch on the AC due to high fuel consumption. Unless the prices of petrol and diesel and CNG are reduced, it will be difficult for drivers to even run their vehicles. People should put up with this or pay a little extra to compensate the drivers. Still it will be better than having your own car.”