Attention, Delhiites! If you use an Ola or Uber cab for your daily travel to office or elsewhere in Delhi-NCR, you might have to look at alternative modes of transport today. Drivers of the two leading app-based cab aggregators are planning a complete shutdown in the city on Friday to press for their demands, according to a media report.
The announcement of an indefinite nationwide strike in the key cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune had been made by the Ola and Uber drivers on March 19. However, a significant impact had so far been seen only in Mumbai; the other metros faced minimal impact. But now, the announcement of a complete shutdown in Delhi-NCR comes even as drivers of the app-based cab service Ola on Wednesday called off their three-day-old strike, and Uber ones followed on Thursday.
An official of the Sarvodaya Drivers Association, a key cab drivers’ union in the National Capital Region (NCR), said on Thursday that Ola and Uber cab services won’t be available on Friday in view of a ‘large-scale’ protest against the cab aggregators, according to the Hindustan Times.
Though the wide-scale impact of the strike will likely be felt today, some drivers were on strike yesterday as well, causing inconvenience to scores of daily office-goers and other commuters. While residents in Noida and Ghaziabad faced difficulties in booking cabs towards Delhi, those in Gurgaon and Delhi booked cabs with long waiting periods.
There are about 125,000 app-based taxi drivers in Delhi-NCR who are demanding an increased pay, better verification of riders and streamlining of shared duties as a surge in the number of cabs on the two platforms, coupled with cutbacks in incentive payments, have stung their finances.
In the past two years, almost 15 strikes have been announced by Ola and Uber drivers. From asking for a monthly income once promised by the aggregators to demands for mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) checks for riders, the drivers have asked for various things.
Here are the top 10 developments so far in the Ola-Uber strike and stir:
1. Uber, Ola plan a complete shutdown in Delhi-NCR today: Drivers, with the support of the Sarvodaya Drivers Association, are likely to protest against their low earnings. They are currently paid Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month, according to media reports.
2.Fifth day of strike: The strike, which was first announced on March 19 might finally hit Delhi-NCR commuters today as Ola and Uber drivers plan a complete shutdown. Until yesterday, the impact in the city had been minimal, with a few riders in Noida and Ghaziabad facing a difficulty in finding cabs to Delhi. Residents in Gurgaon and Delhi faced a delay in getting cabs.
3. Ola, Uber deny shutdown claims: Both Ola and Uber on Thursday dismissed claims of a complete shutdown in Delhi-NCR, with an Ola spokesperson saying. “It’s business as usual for us in Delhi-NCR.”
A spokesperson for Uber had said: “There is no disruption to the service in Delhi-NCR, at this point. We are committed to serving the city, ensuring driver-partners can continue to access a stable income while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around Delhi-NCR,” according to the English daily.
4. Ola strike in Mumbai called off: Claiming "victory" for the "owner-operators" of Ola cabs in Mumbai and other places, the transport wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena that was spearheading the stir, on Thursday said the Ola management, during their talks with the police and the wing's representatives had given a written commitment on meeting the various demands.
These include a relook at drivers blacklisted by the taxi aggregator and putting up stickers in Marathi on Ola cabs, the statement said.
An Ola spokesperson, in a separate statement, confirmed that the strike had been called off with immediate effect.
"Ola would like to apologise to all its customers for the inconvenience caused due to factors beyond its control," the company said.
5. Uber strike continues in Mumbai: Meanwhile, a similar strike by drivers of Uber continues.
"An official of Uber will meet us here tomorrow (Friday) and a decision on the status of Uber drivers' stir is expected after that meeting," MNS transport wing president Sanjay Naik told PTI.
Almost 90 to 95 per cent of Ola and Uber drivers in Mumbai participated in the strike on the third day, Naik had said. It is estimated that over 45,000 app-based cabs operate in the financial capital alone.
6. 15 arrested in Mumbai: The Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested 12 people, including Sanjay Naik, the president of the transport wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), besides some drivers of either Ola or Uber, an executive of a ride-hailing company toldBusiness Standard. The arrests were made after the filing of a first information report (FIR) against the MNS workers for organising the nationwide strike.
The police had earlier issued notices to leaders of the union under section 149 of CrPC relating to unlawful assembly. When the strike was not called off even after that, the Mumbai Police registered an FIR (find pictures below) and then arrested 12 people — Nitin Nopgavkar, Rabahan Khan, Narayan Pas, Srinivas Swami, Vinod Bhode, Balram Chowdhari, Dilip, Wahid Sheikh, Yakub Mehta, Nasir Sheikh, Rupesh Bhode, Abdul Sheikh, Ramesh Pal, Mohd Ramzan Sheikh, Sachin Bhabar and Rajendu Gavkar -- the executive of a ride-hailing company quotes earlier told Business Standard, asking not to be named.
7. Drivers claim Ola, Uber cheated them: Ola and Uber drivers said that while both the firms promised them an average monthly income between Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000, the same was not the case. However, they initially believed them, and ended up buying cars on loans. Now that they are being underpaid, they have decided to go on a strike, according to media reports. An average cost of a car varies between Rs 500,000 to 700,000.
Fuel hike adds to Ola, Uber drivers’ woes: A hike in the fuel prices have left drivers in distress with many being unable to pay their instalments and for the loans they took on their cabs.
8. Ola giving preference to cars owned by them: Allegations have also been made that Ola is giving preferences to its own cars rather than the ones owned by drivers. Highlighting one such incident, a driver said that even if a car owned by them is closer to a rider, the company will book for the rider the car that is owned by the company, according to media reports.
9. Drop in per-km fare giving nightmares: Where the per-kilometre fare once to hover around Rs 10, the same has dropped to Rs 6 now due to the stiff competition between Ola and Uber. Moreover, Ola Share offers share pass varying on the distance one intends to travel. For instance, one can buy a pass for Rs 10 valid for 30 days, where one would be required to pay just Rs 30 for distance up to four kms and Rs 200 for distance up to 20 kms. Similarly, Uber offers slashes rates on its ‘POOL’ rides and often gives 50 per cent discount to users on Uber Go, which is the cheapest Uber car ride after share.
10. Ola-Uber strike in Delhi-NCR last year: Earlier, on March 2017, Ola and Uber drivers went on a strike in Delhi-NCR region, demanding a hike in per-km fare. Sarvodaya Drivers’ Association had demanded that fares be increased from the existing Rs 6 per km to around Rs 20 per km. It also demanded the abolition of the commission the drivers were charged by companies.
They had gone on a strike in February, too, which lasted 13 days, causing inconvenience to commuters in Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad.