By Prarthana Mitra
On a city-wide indefinite strike for the past 12 days, India’s leading taxicab aggregators, Ola and Uber, have decided to call it off temporarily in order to reduce inconvenience during Diwali.
Cab drivers have agreed to resume services till November 15, on the condition that a new fare chart on price-per-kilometre is submitted by mid-November, that takes the rising fuel price into account. An Uber spokesperson said, “Uber is pleased to announce that independent driver partners registered with the Uber app in Mumbai will return to work immediately, effectively ending a 12-day-old strike.”
A temporary solution
The temporary truce comes just days after state transport minister Diwakar Raote intervened and discussed the matter with the stakeholders.
On Monday, the drivers also had a meeting with senior officials from the legal departments of Ola and Uber, whereupon it was decided that for the next two weeks, both firms will offer a Diwali-incentive scheme for drivers to earn an extra profit on every ride. Uber’s special Diwali incentive, which was due to expire 5 November 2018, will now be extended till 15 November 2018, the firm announced.
This will not reflect increased fares for customers, sources confirmed.
What the agitators have to say
According to Sachin Bhosale from Maharashtra Rajya Kamgar Sangh (MRKS), an organisation at the fore of this indefinite strike, the incentive scheme will ensure better payment and help make up for the losses incurred due to striking. Uber, for example, has earmarked an incentive of Rs 825 for every two trips and Rs 20,000 for every 45 trips/day, to each driver.
“We want an increase in the minimum base fares. Which means, the minimum base fares would increase to Rs 12 per km for micro cars, Rs 15 per km for Sedan and Rs 19 per km for SUVs. The companies also promised to compensate us on the losses incurred during the protest,” Sudhir Bhosale of MRKS said to the press.
Around 500 cab drivers from the MRKS union participated in the strike that brought life to a near-standstill in India’s commercial capital. Over 300 citizens reported the grievance on social media. Following the strike, Uber has promised to examine “a fuel price based earnings index to look at ways of making net earnings on the Uber platform more sustainable.’’
Ola issued a statement which said, “Millions of customers in the city have been inconvenienced over the past few days without access to their choice of mobility. Our robust partner support systems including a 24×7 partner care helpline and walk-in centres across cities are equipped to resolve any concerns or issues faced by driver partners on the Ola platform. We are committed to the growth of driver partners on the Ola platform who are micro-entrepreneurs in their own right.”
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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