The cab aggregator strikes, which had so far remained confined to south India, have now moved on to the national capital.
Uber and Ola drivers are on strike today in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. The Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, which claims to have 2,000 members, working for either Uber or Ola, has called for the strike, reports Business Standard. The association hopes that 40,000 to 50,000 cab drivers would join their indefinite agitation. They plan to gather at Ramlila Ground in central Delhi on Friday morning and then march to Jantar Mantar, where a few of their representatives plan hunger strike.
The biggest peeve of the drivers in NCR, as it was in Hyderabad and Bangalore, appears to be the growing number of cabs that are now eating away into the earnings of existing drivers. “Companies should not add more new cars,” said Ravi Rathore, a senior member at the association. The drivers are also unhappy with the Rs. 6 per kilometer minimum fare for cabs, and want it to be raised.
The impact of the strike is already being seen – there were reports coming in of the unavailability of cabs across the area.
My @Olacabs driver tells me today ola & @Uber on strike.No1 ready to take us to gurgaon. Can't apps forewarn us n not just relentless ads?
— Deepthy Menon (@deemen) February 10, 2017
@Uber_Support Uber Strike in Gurgaon ? Cab waiting time more than 30 mins!
— Hemaang (@JrSehgal) February 10, 2017
What is wrong with @Uber_Delhi today? No cabs available.
— Rachna Bhola (@rachnabhola) February 10, 2017
Uber Ola strike in Delhi. Had to take an auto like good old days of 300 BC.
— Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) February 10, 2017
Like with other cities, the protesting associations seem to be forcing other cabs – which might not necessarily support the strike – off the roads.
@Uber what's wrong with Uber, Gurgaon,India? I was traveling, few rowdies came stopped my cab, saying they were on strike
— kangkan pratim dutta (@KangkanPratim) February 10, 2017
Uber Ola strike in Gurgaon? I'm hearing violent stories!
— Prateek (@KhuranaPrateek) February 10, 2017
This latest strike appears to be following the pattern of strikes in Hyderabad and Bangalore. In Hyderabad, drivers had gone on strike for a five day period after the New Year weekend, and in Bangalore, drivers had been off the roads for three days. Normal service had then resumed in both cities. This should come as consolation for the NCR region, which relies heavily on cabs and is among the biggest market for both companies.
But these persistent strikes will probably make Uber and Ola nervous – an unhappy driver fleet doesn’t help their business. The repeated outages in service don’t win them any brownie points with their customers. And what’s worse, the Delhi government is unlikely to be sympathetic to their demands – Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the past has issued ultimatums to Uber and Ola to run, and called surge pricing daylight robbery. Even as they slug it out for marketshare, Uber and Ola are stuck between lots of rocks and hard places at the moment.