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Monday 27 February 2017

Save Our Drivers from Ola, Uber

Save Our Drivers 
Ola, Uber 

Poor Drivers in India join their Counterparts on indefinite Strike against Ola, Uber 

The fight between cab aggregators and driver partners just doesn’t seem to end. On Thursday, over a lakh drivers from Drivers and Owners Association who are attached to Ola and Uber called for an indefinite strike in Bengaluru. The offices of the aggregators have also been ransacked. While this spells problems for the companies, the commuters are the ones most affected, with many finding it difficult to book cabs and, if they manage to, having to fork out more than the usual for their rides.
One commuter had to bribe the driver with the promise of an extra Rs 200 for an airport ride.

“The unions are stopping the cabs and are demanding that the commuters leave the vehicle and they aren’t even letting us take the vehicle to the side of the road,” said a driver partner associated with Ola and Uber.
The strike in Benglauru was called for better incentives and for the ceasing of attachment of newer cabs by the companies, citing that the move affects the bookings of the existing vehicles.  
There have been  spate of driver protests against the two major taxi aggregators recently. Just last month, driver partners for Ola and Uber had protested in the city, demanding higher incentives, lesser number of rides and more incentives for share and pool services.

Following that protest, the government had called for the banning of Ola Share and Uber Pool services. Following Then, Ola and Uber Drivers in Delhi too began to protest. The president of the Sarvodaya Drivers Union in Delhi had even taken the protest to a gherao to the transport minister’s house, with a few members still demonstrating at Jantar Mantar. Demands include a 24×7 call centre, accident and health insurance, an increase in tariffs from the present Rs 6 per km, lesser targets, and higher incentives.

The stalemate in Delhi has been going on for 11 days now. In Bengaluru, the union decided to go on strike after the discussions with both cab aggregators companies and State transport commissioner did not bear fruit.
As per the rules, rates for AC and non-AC taxis are fixed at Rs. 19.50 per km and Rs 14.50 per km respectively, but the drivers get out of each ride is between Rs 4 and Rs 5. As a result, those drivers who earned Rs 80,000-1,00,000 are now earning around Rs 15,000. Recently, to fight Uber's growing presence, Ola had slashed its prices by 20 percent in Bengaluru.

It has been our constant endeavour to provide driver partners with adequate opportunities for growth, financially and as entrepreneurs. We are working closely with local authorities to resolve issues at the earliest and to ensure that mobility needs of customers continue to be served uninterrupted.
Uber and Ola have another battle that is yet to be fought — the ban on Ola Share and uberPOOL by the Government of Karnataka. Currently, the aggregators and the government are on a cease-fire.

This is not the first time the cab aggregators have been caught in a jam. Since their launch, there have been regular run-ins with the Karnataka government. However, they are not the only ones to have been accused of ‘traffic violations’. Shuttle bus aggregator ZipGo had to shut down in 2015 after facing a similar situation.
Image for representational purpose only.
BENGALURU: Cab services in the city are likely to be affected on Wednesday as a section of drivers attached to app-based aggregators Ola and Uber have threatened to go on a strike. Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola (UTO) Drivers and Owners Association decided to go on a strike against the cut in incentives and reduced income.

Autorickshaw and taxi drivers unions backed by CITU and AITUC will stage a protest at the transport commissioner’s office in Shanthi Nagar against the hike in various vehicle fees, like licence fees.
Tanveer Pasha, president of the Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola (UTO) Drivers and Owners Association, said that a majority of app-based cab and airport taxi drivers’ unions, autorickshaw unions will join in the one-day strike.

“The government is turning a blind eye to the violations by cab operators. They have not taken action against ride-sharing services despite several petitions,” he said. He said most drivers attached to app-based aggregators have been suffering because their income has gone down despite working long hours.

However, autorickshaw and traditional taxi drivers, whose businesses were affected after the entry of app-based aggregators are unlikely to take part in the strike. Rudramurthy, Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union office-bearer said, “We will join the protest in front of transport department against the steep fee hike on learner’s fee, renewal fee etc. But we will continue to ply in the city.”

Radhakrishna Holla, general secretary, Bengaluru Tourist Taxi Operators Association (BTTOA), said, “We support the protest but we won’t be participating in the strike because of the ongoing air show at Yelahanka.”

Transport Department has called a meeting with representatives of Ola and Uber with their protesting drivers on Wednesday. Sources said the department is unlikely to take action for operating ride-sharing services despite the opposition from drivers.

While Transport Department’s 15-day deadline to stop ride-sharing services will expire on Friday, transport officials say they will take action based on the response from the Centre.

“We have sought a clarification from the Centre whether to allow share services but there has been no response so far,” said H G Kumar, additional commissioner of Transport Department.  

The department is under pressure to several citizens, including state IT minister Priyank Kharge, opposed the department’s move to ban share services. Uber’s online petition supporting share services received more than 30,000 signatures.  Kumar said most demands raised by drivers comes under the purview of Labour Department.

“Drivers will have to approach Labour Department to address such issues,” he said. Kumar says the Transport Department wants representatives of Ola and Uber to resolve the issues amicably. 

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