Technology powered taxi apps Ola and Uber are now being opposed pan-India via strikes and protests. After strikes by auto and taxi operators in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Kochi, the hatred and fear has now spread to National Capital Delhi. This week, around 85,000 auto-rickshaw owners and 15,000 yellow-black taxi operators have declared a strike to protest against Uber and Ola in Delhi.
As per a Joint Action Committee (JAC) announcement, around 20 transport unions in Delhi, along with several unions of yellow-black taxi operators located at domestic and international airport in New Delhi have extended their support to the massive strike.
This JAC has been created by various taxi unions and auto-drivers’ unions to form a common voice against Ola/Uber.
Yesterday, these disgruntled taxi operators and auto-drivers sat in dharna outside Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s residence as well, opposing “preferential treatment of cab companies such as Uber and Ola”.
Rajendra Soni, member of the JAC said, “The operations of Uber and Ola are illegal as they don’t have permits to run their taxis in Delhi, but despite that the government is allowing them to take away our livelihoods. The government has assured us on several occasions to take action against these services but so far they have not,”
Interestingly, Soni belongs to 2 unions: Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union and Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh which are allegedly backed by RSS and other right wing political parties.
In April, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had threatened to ban Uber and Ola if they don’t stop surge pricing.
Earlier this week, yellow-black taxi operators in Mumbai also participated in a massive strike against Uber and Ola and demanded immediate blocking of these apps.
Swabhiman Taxi and Rickshaw Union president KK Tiwari said, “Our demand from the government is that the cab aggregators should be brought under the law … they are operating without mandatory permission from the RTO”
As per Tiwari, all taxis and autos would be off the road from July 26th till indefinite period.
Reported, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured these striking taxi unions that ‘regulations’ against Uber and Ola and other online taxi companies would be introduced next week, to create a ‘level playing field’ for everyone.
Jai Bhagwan Taxi Rickshaw Sanghatana, which is one of the largest unions of auto/taxi drivers in Mumbai held a token 1-day strike in Mumbai, after which their Union leader Balasaheb Sanap met CM Fadnavis.
Sanap shared, “We have been assured that the CM will take a final call on the new City Taxi Scheme within 10 days. We want the government to control the operations of the private cab aggregators and keep a check on fares,”
One of the striking auto-driver from Mumbai said, “Six months back I used to earn Rs.1700-1800 per day. I am barely making a thousand rupees now. It is difficult to run family after deducting expenses for CNG and maintenance,”
Some of the ‘regulations’ which Maharashtra CM proposed includes capping of number of taxis under any brand, cap on surge pricing and strict adherence to traffic rules.
In the month of May, similar protests were held in Kolkata when Bengal Taxi Association (BTA) declared a one-day strike against Ola/Uber. Bimal Guha, general secretary of the BTA said, “The strike is a symbolic protest against the companies that are operating illegally,”
Speculations are rife that states where auto/taxi drivers are protesting against taxi apps, a new ‘licensed regime’ may be introduced, just like Karnataka, which became the first state to provide a license to Ola.
We will keep you updated as more news come in regarding protests and strikes against technology powered taxi-apps.