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Drivers call off Delhi strike, claim Ola has agreed to raise cab fares

Strike called off till Feb 27; Ola agrees to hike fares, no news from Uber

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Ola and Uber taxi drivers shout slogans during the fourth day of their strike against withdrawal of incentives by the app-based cab aggregators, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)

The 13-day-long taxi strike in the capital, that had lost much of its steam, on Thursday ended following a meeting of Ola and Uber drivers with the Delhi government and company managements.

The Sarvodaya Drivers' Association of Delhi (SDAD) that was leading the strike claimed that Ola has agreed to its demands; however, the management of the company refused to comment on the assertion.

Thousands of drivers working with the two taxi aggregators had gone on an indefinite strike against "low" fares and "lacking" basic amenities their employers provide them.

SDAD, which claims to represent 1.5 lakh drivers in Delhi-NCR, said it has called off its strike till February 27 as the app-based cab aggregators have sought time to resolve their issues.

The development comes after the Delhi government on Thursday called a meeting with the striking drivers and representatives of Uber and Ola.

The meeting lasted for around four hours.

SDAD vice-president Ravi Rathore said, "In the meeting, an Ola representative assured us of doing away with the DDD rule under which a penalty of Rs 500 is imposed on a driver if he refuses to ferry passenger. Besides, the company has also agreed to increase fares from the existing Rs 6 per km."

When asked about the company's response on the union's claims, Ola refused to comment.

An Uber spokesperson said the company reiterated in the meeting that individual drivers could come to it at any time to raise concerns.

"We condemn the violent protests carried out by striking unions which not only harassed driver partners but also kept them away from earning an honest living," the spokesperson said.

Rathore said if the demands are not fulfilled by their employers by February 27, the drivers will go on strike again.

A senior government official said that both the app-based aggregators have also invited the drivers to their office to discuss and resolve the issues peacefully.

On its part, the Delhi government has assured the drivers of their welfare, particularly of those "harassed" without having been given an opportunity to be heard by the companies.

On the demand of removal of toll charges at borders, the government said that it would take "sympathetic" view on it. The government will raise the issue with the municipal corporation.

According to a senior government official, the companies assured the drivers' union to work on their demands shortly and will give their assurance to the High Court on February 28, when it will hear the drivers and the cab aggregators.

Commuters in Delhi-NCR had to face hardship in booking cabs as drivers of Ola and Uber had gone on an indefinite strike on February 10.

However, the strike seemed to be losing steam over the last three days as most of the striking union's members started plying their cabs.

First Published: Fri, February 24 2017. 08:43 IST