Ola and Uber drivers Go On a Strike in Delhi-NCR; Demand Incentives, Insurance and Less Work Hours
At one point of time, a joke was making the rounds that an Ola or an Uber driver makes more than an average fresh graduate, and further this claim was actually true. Ola and Uber drivers could easily make up to Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 a month from incentives.
Of course, to make such incentives your work hours have to be insane and people often complained of reckless and unsafe driving because of that. Despite that, the two companies kept modifying their incentives to make sure both the riders and the drivers benefit.
However, recently, the two companies removed any kind of incentives for the drivers, dropping their earnings by almost 60-70%. Because of this, Ola and Uber drivers in Delhi-NCR have gone on a strike since Friday, 10th February.
Around 5,000 drivers staged a protest in Central Delhi against lack of incentives. With vehicle loans, insurance and other running costs, the earnings have become extremely low, especially for a place like Delhi where standard of living is relatively high.
The common problems faced by these drivers –
- Lack of incentives, which had been designed basis number of trips or number of kilometers driven
- The companies has brought down fares to Rs. 6/km, which is way below the fares that used to exist some time back. In fact the drivers are protesting that the fare be floored at Rs. 21/km as regulated by the Government
- There is no accident insurance for these cars and the driving hours are insane
Other complaints include duping the drivers to purchase the vehicles, then pay the loans themselves and suddenly cut off incentives. If you look at it, the driving conditions in Delhi are not very pleasant, and to make ends meet you need to have some incentives for motivation.
“Ride-sharing has to be stopped. Out of 10 trips we get in a day, eight of them are on sharing basis. This drops our already weak earning to Rs 3/km. The companies can give as much discount as they want to the customers, but they should not make us suffer for it,” said Kamal Rathor, senior member of Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi.
A lot of people who rely on Ola and Uber are facing issues in booking a cab, as waiting times can go upto 20-25 mins. The fares are also extremely high because of unavailability of cabs and high demand. For a city where these cab-hailing services had become ubiquitous, it is quite strange to see is struggling even though public transport is decent.
Uber has increased its ride-time charges in Delhi and despite that the drivers are not able to make enough money. The residents of the capital are waiting for the services to resume, but it looks like it is not happening in another week or so, and more protests are being planned and this time it seems like the drivers are not going to let go very soon.