Mumbai: Commuters using Ola and Uber were inconvenienced on October 9 after some driver-partners of the cab aggregators went on a flash strike. Drivers have now threatened to escalate the issue with a bigger agitation on October 22 if their demands for a fare hike and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification of passengers is not implemented. The move comes after drivers complained of being attacked by passengers. They also claimed that the current fare, at the rate of Rs 6 per kilometre, doesn’t even ensure them a living wage.
Rajesh, an Ola driver, said that just as their identities are checked and verified, in the same way, at the time of booking, commuter identities too should be verified. “There have been a lot of cases where passengers have attacked and robbed us. Sometimes, they are drunk and abuse us. We feel it’s important that their identities are checked using KYC. Why should only drivers be subjected to checks?” he asked.
With fares currently at Rs 6 per kilometre, drivers are barely able to scrape through as they make a minimum of 5-6 trips in a day, earning nearly Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 of which Rs 300 is the commission they have to pay the company. “Our main demand is to increase the fare to Rs 16 per kilometre. We also want the speed governors that have been installed in the car, to be removed. Moreover, those drivers who have been sacked for speeding should be reinstated,” said an Uber driver.
He added that the company should take its commission from customers, and not drivers. The amount of the driver’s daily instalments should be reduced and vehicles should not be taken back until the term of the agreement with the driver ends.An Uber spokesperson said, “Very few drivers participated in the strike. It did not have any bearing on our functioning at all.”