Ola and Uber drivers are on strike in Bengaluru since yesterday.It was a chaotic Monday for hundreds of commuters in the city as app-based taxis were not easily available through the day.
The drivers of the two companies have started an indefinite strike in Bengaluru.The strike has been a result of the companies’ move to acquire more cars, that has led to shrinking incentives for the current drivers.
Across the city, there were reports of discontent among drivers, while commuters were left stranded. There were many instances of drivers stopping their co-workers from ferrying passengers.
“My driver was talking about the strike on the phone with a friend. Suddenly, he asked me to get down at Indiranagar 100 feet road about 4 km away from my drop point. He was not aggressive, but said that he had to participate in the protest,”
said one resident .
Tanveer, a coordinator for Ola-TaxiForSure-Uber (OTU) Drivers’ and Owners’ Union told The Hindu,
“They are making us run around in circles. One day they ask us to register our demands individually, the next day they say we must form a group. No one has approached us to even hear what we have to say. Now they are threatening police action against striking drivers. But we don’t intend to stop.”
“Only a small percentage of drivers struck work but there has been an impact on business. However, there were many drivers who chose to come online,”
said a spokesperson with Uber. Ola, however, declined to comment.
The key reasons for dissatisfaction among drivers of the taxi aggregators is that the supply of taxis has increased phenomenally in the last 2-3 years. In Bangalore, there were 53,000 registered taxis in 2013-14 which has increased to 113,000 registered taxis as on October 2016, according to a study by Valorise Consultants, market research services for transportation companies. Similarly, the numbers of taxis in Delhi has doubled in the last two years to 80,000.
The number of trips, however, has not increased to the same ratio.
“Owing to excess supply of drivers and slow growth in trips, the drivers need to put more time and effort to achieve this incentive,” said Jaspal Singh, Partner and co-founder, Valorise Consultants. Drivers have to work on an average 14-16 hours per day to complete required numbers of trips or minimum revenue collection. The incentive slab of each driver changes on a daily basis based on their past performance.
Meanwhile, an Uber spokesperson said
“We strive to be a mobility option for everyone in Bengaluru and we regret the disruption caused to our rider and driver community by a small group of individuals. We remain committed to serving the city, ensuring driver partners can continue to access a stable income, while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around their city.”