Ola, Uber strike: Mumbai commuters witness higher surge pricing, wait times

Ola, Uber strike: Mumbai commuters witness higher surge pricing, wait times

Explaining the non-participation, Tanveer Pasha, president, Uber, TaxiForSure, Ola (UTO) drivers and owners association, said that the drivers are anyway struggling with low wages. "The cab aggregators also promised us health insurance, which we have not received".

An Uber spokesperson said, "We keep experimenting with our incentive structures, and the same might differ from city to city and can vary between one driver partner to another, based on the kind of incentive structures they opt for".

The strike, which began Sunday midnight, will be continued till Tuesday noon, according to leaders of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which is supporting the strike. The strike was called for by Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena, the transport wing of Raj Thackeray led-MNS. While many who usually book rides with these cabs firms gave the apps a skip after hearing about the strike, several commuters said they had to allegedly shell out more - that too after a long wait for the cab. Despite the smaller number of cabs on the road, the commute has remained bearable for most cities, except Mumbai. The drivers had last staged a strike in September past year against lower income returns received from mobile app-based companies.

As I write this as an affected commuter, there is news coming in that the strike has reportedly fuelled the idea of starting their own cab services among the drivers in Delhi and Bengaluru. However, no meeting was conducted between the striking drivers and representatives of Uber, which shut its offices in Mumbai after the protestors started gathering outside.

While there was no response from Uber, Ola came out with a brief statement.

There has been no official word yet from either Ola or Uber. Bapu Kamble, an auto-driver working with Ola, shared, "It was only the four-wheelers that went on a strike".

Now, the drivers who own their own vehicles, are alleging that Uber and Ola are partial towards the drivers who have bought the vehicles from them, and they are being given more bookings compared to them.

Neither Uber nor Ola have commented on this development.

"Earning Rs 700 a day and paying the company Rs 500 leaves us with Rs 200 a day making it impossible to survive", he said. "While the companies claim that drivers are their partners, they are not given appropriate remuneration or financial benefits", said Naik. We have been listening to them all along and want to ensure that Uber remains an attractive opportunity for them.

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