Commuters faced a bit of inconvenience on Friday when they could not find Ola or Uber application based taxis for their daily travel. Around 90 percent of drivers of both these app based taxis went on a strike due to failure of the parent company in fulfilling their promises and downfall in revenues.
The drivers complained that both Ola and Uber had promised them a business of Rs 1.25 lakhs per month with a revenue generation of Rs 5000 per day. But in the present scenario the drivers were unable to make a business of Rs 2,500 in one day. Moreover, they have to pay for diesel, toll and also maintenance of cars from this amount.
Praful Shinde, president of Maharashtra Tourist Permit Union, told the Free Press Journal, “More than half the money that we earn is being spent as both Ola and Uber charge 27 percent commission. Some of the cars are bought by us but now we do not have sufficient money to even pay off the EMI.”
The owners of cars claimed that Ola and Uber had snatched away their business by introducing their own cars and hiring drivers from them. A car owner said, “I have three cars and my drivers have suddenly shifted to work for the parent company so I do not get any business. If the parent companies wanted to introduce their own cars then why did they lure us at the start by giving false promises?”
Amidst all this chaos, the commuters bore the brunt as they could not find taxis easily on both the apps. Sana Osmany, who commutes from Malad to Oshiwara, said, “I am a frequent user of these app based taxis but today I could not find a single taxi. I was forced to take an Ola Auto and thankfully it did not cost me much. But for long distance travel, we need these taxis as they are cheap and comfortable.”
Chetan Shah, a resident of Andheri said, “I could find very few taxis in the afternoon on both the apps. The rates were also high as surge pricing was applicable.”
The drivers are also irked with the state government’s new rules under the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules 2017, for regulating app-based taxis and controlling surge pricing, which varies with demand and supply. They have decided to go on an indefinite strike and protest in different places after March 22 if their demands are not fulfilled.