Drivers of cab companies Uber and Ola have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from the midnight of March 18. The strike is expected to impact key cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune among other cities. “Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 5-7 lakh (500,000 – 700,000) and were waiting to make Rs 1.5 lakh (150,000) a month. Now they are unable even to make half of this, owing to the mismanagement by these companies,” Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, who is organising the strike, told on Friday. Naik also alleged that these taxi-hailing companies are giving priority to company-owned cars and not driver-owned vehicles, causing a slump in their business. While taxi-hailing companies offered loan-guarantee letters to drivers through the Mudra scheme and that too without any verification, they are defaulting on repayment now as their costs are not covered, he claimed.
In Mumbai only, there are over 45,000 cabs on these aggregators, due to the slump in the company, there has been a fall of 20 percent in the number of cabs running on these stages in the city. “If our needs are not matched, we will go on an uncertain strike,” he said, adding the drivers had approached MNS leader Raj Thackeray to mediate in the matter.
Other associations of Ola and Uber are also in support of the strike, Naik said. “The transport department should take stringent action as these taxi-hailing companies are violating permit conditions, and also infringing on the taxi-rickshaw business. Mumbai Taximen’s Union general secretary Al Quadros said,”It is good they are going on strike. While Ola declined to comment, an Uber spokesperson said termed the strike call as a speculative. It seems that the strike would create problems for daily passengers who often depend on these cab services for going to the office or some other purposes. And if you are one of them, do not worry there are some other options like; Jugnoo, Revv, Meru Cabs, which can help you during the strike.