Ola, Uber strike: Passengers left waiting as prices surge
The strike called by the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena, the transport wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), claims that several drivers are not able to cover costs.pune Updated: Mar 20, 2018 23:25 IST
An indefinite strike called by the drivers of the app-based cab aggregators Ola and Uber that commenced on Monday, forced the commuters from Pune to go through difficulties in their daily routine on Monday.
The strike called by the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena, the transport wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which claims that several drivers of these cabs are not able to cover costs due to the falling business in Mumbai, was supported by the drivers in Pune.
There are around 25,000 cabs attached with app-based aggregators involving same number of people in the business in the city. Some of the worst affected areas due to strike was Pune railway station, Sangamwadi junction and Hinjewadi where people avail cab services in large numbers, said one of the Ola driver.
Riya Kalwani, a city-based IT employee working in Hinjewadi IT park, said, “I stay near Baner while my office is in Hinjewadi. I commute to my office daily by Uber cab. However, due to the strike today, I had to use other mode of transport.”
Aman Belsare, a resident of Vishrantwadi said, “It took me one hour to book an Ola cab as I wanted to go to my workplace in Kothrud. We are so habitual to the easy accessibility of Ola and Uber cabs, it gets very difficult to manage in such days of strike.”
Protesting low earnings, the MNS transport wing claimed that several drivers of these cabs are not able to cover costs due to the falling business. The union has asked all app-based cab drivers to go on an ‘offline protest’. The protest will require the drivers to not login into the application and accept bookings.
Sudhir Dhavade, an MNS activist from Pune said, “The Ola and Uber cab companies have betrayed the people. While they had promised a monthly income of more than Rs 1.5 lakh, the drivers are not able to generate even Rs 25,000 per month.”
Rahul Daund, a registered Uber driver said, “Earlier our payments were done by the companies considering the number of daily rides. In addition, we only had to give 25 per cent of the entire earning to the companies.”
Claiming the change in policy unjustified, Daund said, “Uber currently charges 50 per cent of the total income per day. The companies have even reduced the rate per km to Rs 6.”
Pradeep Dhumal, Ola cab driver said, “The current rate per km at which we have to ride our cabs is less than that of autorickshaws. While the expenses we bear are much higher in comparison.”
The drivers which are hired by the companies, though in a marginal number, have to be operational by the order of management of the respective companies.
Suresh Bansode, a registered Ola cab driver said, “I have to work today as well because I am an employee of OLA. However, owing to the strike it has been difficult to operate today. I picked a passenger from Nal Stop but was stopped by the other drivers near Pune railway station, where I had to drop the passenger. They forced me to go offline.”
Dhavade said, “We will continue our strike till the time these wrong policies are rolled back by the companies.”
Despite many attempts, there was no response from Ola. However, Uber spokesperson said, “The Honourable Bombay high court issued an injunction prohibiting unions, their leaders and anybody else from obstructing the activities of Uber driver partners. We welcome this, and hope that it will enable drivers to stay behind the wheel, something many have been telling us they wish to do. We have been listening to our driver partners all along and are committed to ensuring that Uber remains an attractive entrepreneurial opportunity for them.”