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Ola, Uber drivers on strike from today: Rates shoot up, few cabs on Mumbai roads

Scarcity of black-and-yellow taxis, owing to greater demand

mumbai Updated: Mar 19, 2018 17:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ola,Uber,Ola uber strike
Drivers protest outside the Ola office at Chakala, Andheri (east), on Monday morning.(HT Photo)

There were very few Ola and Uber cabs on the city’s streets on Monday, after the drivers of these app-based taxi aggregators began their indefinite strike on Sunday midnight.

Both Ola and Uber drivers affiliated to the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena (MNVS), which is Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s transport union, are participating in the strike. It has been supported by several other unions as well. The drivers want the aggregators to ensure they get the assured income of Rs1.25 lakh every month.

There are around 50,000 app-based cabs that operate in Mumbai Metropolitan Region; the union claims the figure is 1.10 lakh. Of these, Ola and Uber collectively own approximately 10,000 vehicles.

Commuters complained that the Ola and Uber apps are showing very few cabs available compared to other days, so there’s also a huge delay in the cabs’ arrival time once the booking is done. The fares are also very high in comparison.

As a result, the demand for black-and-yellow taxis has been high, and not everyone is managing to get taxis. Many Mumbaiites struggled to reach their offices on Monday morning.

In Kurla, some app-based vehicles that were plying have been vandalised by unidentified people.

The state transport department seems to have made no special arrangements for city commuters, despite knowing about the strike.

Sanjay Naik, leader of MNVS, blamed Ola and Uber for creating an illusion among drivers that they would get high returns, when they are barely earning Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 per month. “The drivers are going through a crisis similar to the state’s farmers,” Naik said.

The two aggregators have approached the Mumbai police for security for their offices, vehicles and drivers. “We have been informed by the Mumbai police that they have proactively taken all necessary steps to ensure the safety of commuters during their cab rides in the city,” said an Ola spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the unions have circulated messages on social media asking the drivers to stay off roads and support the strike.

Not all drivers support the agitation. Santosh Yadav, a driver, said: “I drive for an app taxi company, and being my own boss has improved my livelihood. I am happy with what I earn compared to my previous job, where I was a security guard in a factory. Besides this, I also get benefits such as life insurance. I am totally against this strike; it has been planned by a small group of drivers.”

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 09:12 IST