Mumbai: Unions vie to get a slice of aggregator cab drivers’ pie

Multiple unions want to attract the aggregator cab drivers. The MRRKS union – a body of aggregator drivers – wrote a letter to the State Transport department and the aggregator companies demanding a fare hike. Even the MNS led union demanded the same with a select few going on a protest. Their demand is a massive fare hike per kilometer by three times. In the last couple of days now, there has been discontent among the drivers of aggregator cabs.

In a letter written to Maharashtra Transport minister Anil Parab and aggregator companies of Uber and Ola by Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh (MRRKS); the union has demanded an immediate increase in rates of aggregator cabs owing to steep rise in fuel costs.

Sources said that they want the base fare to be Rs 100 and for subsequent kilometre, Rs 20-25. The current fare is anywhere around Rs 30-35 as base fare and Rs 6-7 for subsequent kilometre run as minimum. However there is no control on this and fares rise and fall arbitrarily.

“There is a need for a fare hike. We are in touch with the aggregator companies and discussing these issues with them,” said Anand Kute, organising secretary, MRRKS.

The letter also mentions about ‘Rampant price undercutting by the aggregator companies to the tune of Rs 5 per kilometre offered to the drivers. This is affecting the cabs and taxi business and endangering lives of cab owners and drivers as they are in debts with banks and NBFCs from loans driving them to commit suicide’.

The unions also claim that both the aggregator companies allegedly generate false bookings and there isn’t any grievance redressal system for them. Plus, the cabs leased by the aggregator companies to drivers have been confiscated and drivers are left in lurch; states the letter written by MRRKS.

Another union of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena went on a protest with drivers of aggregator cabs on March 22. In a letter written to the aggregator companies; they too have demanded for a fare hike as despite drivers riding for 12-14 hours a day; they aren’t making enough earnings due to low fares. Another union of Maharashtra App Based Transport Workers Union too had taken out a protest earlier this month outside toll nakas.

The Khatua committee had recommended a ceiling fare for three categories of aggregator cabs: regular, mid-sized and premium, at ₹26, ₹32, and ₹38 per km, respectively. The base fare for the three categories was fixed between ₹14 and ₹16 per km. However according to RTO officials the state government is yet to approve these and regulate fares.

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