Uber and Ola drivers across the country aren’t happy.
After a protracted five-day strike in Hyderabad over the New Year weekend which had crippled transport across the city, Uber and Ola drivers are now on strike in Bangalore. The motivations for the strike are similar to those in Hyderabad – drivers are protesting the cuts in the earnings over the last few months.
In Bangalore, drivers want the state government to put a cap on commissions charged by cab aggregators. While the rules state that commissions charged by app-based taxi services to drivers be fixed at 10%, the two aggregators have hiked it to more than 30% in the past two months.“This does not leave us with enough money to pay off our loans and for expenses,” said Srinivas, a driver who was among the several hundred drivers who’d staged a protest at the Town Hall against the Transport Department on Sunday.
The strike seems to have an effect – while cabs aren’t completely off the streets, commuters are complaining of longer than expected wait times.
No Uber , no Ola at the Bangalore airport. Going back home in a KSTDC cab with a meter. This feels like Kolkata.
— Nikhil Jois (@nikhiljoisr) January 23, 2017
— Varun Kulkarni (@TheVarunK) January 23, 2017
— bonheur (@NoSylviaPlath) January 23, 2017
— Rohith Nair (@RohithNair) January 23, 2017
Cab drivers across India have seen their earnings plummet over the last year. When Uber and Ola launched in India, they’d given out generous incentives to drivers joining their platforms. Drivers had joined in drovers, encouraged by reports that drivers were earning over a lakh per month. However, both companies have sharply reduced incentives for drivers once they reached a critical mass of cabs – bonus structures have become more stringent, and drivers now have to work longer hours to earn the same money that they used to a year ago.
“We want these company representatives to give an assurance to the government that our earnings are protected. They lured us with the promise of good income, but the aggregators are now reaping the benefits of the popularity by leaving us behind. While we get paid Rs. 4 to Rs. 5 a km, companies are charging up to Rs. 19.50,” Tanveer, a driver, alleged.