App-based taxi aggregators Ola and Uber began their indefinite strike on Monday. The strike is likely to cause major trouble to commuters in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru among others. The cabbies have called for the strike demanding restructuring in the payment structure.
The call for strike was made after drivers claimed that they were given big assurances but were unable to cover even their costs on the ground. "Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 5-7 lakh, and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month but are unable to even make half of this, owing to the mismanagement by these companies," Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, who is organising the strike, said.
The protestors are claiming that the taxi-hailing companies are giving first priority to company-owned cars and not driver-owned vehicles, which is causing a slump in their business.
While taxi-hailing companies offered loan-guarantee letters to drivers through the Mudra scheme and that too without any verification, they are defaulting on repayment now as their costs are not covered, Naik claimed.
In Mumbai alone, there are over 45,000 cabs on these aggregators but due to the slump in business, there has been a fall of 20 per cent in the number of cabs running on these platforms in the city.
"The transport department should take strict action as these taxi-hailing companies are violating permit conditions, and also encroaching on the taxi-rickshaw business. It is good they are going on strike," Al Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union said.
There has been no official word yet from either Ola or Uber. While Ola declined to comment, an Uber spokesperson had termed the strike call as a speculative.