Ola, Uber taxi drivers protest suspension of incentives
Ola and Uber taxi drivers say their earnings have come down to Rs20,000 per month from Rs1 lakh earlier after withdrawal of driver incentives
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New Delhi: At least 5,000 drivers of online taxi platforms Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) and Uber Technologies Inc. staged a protest in Central Delhi on Friday against the suspension of incentives by the cab companies.
Disgruntled drivers said their earnings had come down to as low as Rs20,000 per month—making it difficult for them to make ends meet and service loans for their vehicles.
While Ola and Uber have different payment structures—Ola pays per trip and Uber on the basis of number of kilometres clocked—driver incentives over and above the fares were stopped completely in the last two months, said Ravi Rathore, vice-president of Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi which organized the protest on Friday.
Rathore said that in some cases fares credited were Rs6 per km, far lower than Rs16 per km (for air-conditioned cabs)—the minimum fare prescribed by the Delhi government for radio taxis.
Ola and Uber follow an incentive-based payment structure, which includes payment of a bonus on achieving daily targets (the targets change every day and so do the bonus).
“Earlier, we got Rs2,800 on doing trips worth Rs1,800; now we get only Rs1,800,” said an Uber driver. Uber stopped incentives for over 80% of its fleet in the last two weeks.
Drivers also alleged that both Ola and Uber were giving more ride bookings to taxis handed out by their leasing ventures Ola Fleet Technologies Pvt. Ltd And Xchange Leasing India Pvt. Ltd, respectively, leading to loss of business for drivers who have their own cars. The claim could not be independently verified.
Both the companies started leasing out cars late in 2015. An Ola cab driver said that the company “is offering Honda Amaze for an upfront payment of Rs25,000 and daily EMI of Rs1,028 for a period of three years”.
“Our demands are fairly simple: besides increasing driver payments, both Ola and Uber have to stop adding new cars and must limit their fleet; relax penalties for cancellation of bookings and fake rides, which may not be their fault in the first place; and pay insurance cover in case of accidents,” said Rathore.
An estimated 1 lakh cars are run on the Ola and Uber platforms in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. Taxi firms count the National Capital Region (NCR) as a major market, besides Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai.
“A small group of people are disrupting the Uber service in parts of Delhi, and there have been isolated reports of threats and intimidation. We are working hard to ensure reliable rides are available for everyone and we can keep the city moving,” said an Uber spokesperson.
Ola did not immediately respond to an email seeking comments.
Both Ola and Uber have in the recent past faced conflict from drivers and authorities. While drivers have been demanding a fair pay structure and cap on working hours, state governments have cracked the whip on certain services.
Last week, Karnataka government banned ride sharing service of both the companies on the grounds that it did not comply with the contract carriage permit issued to these taxis. Karnataka was also the first state to ban two-wheelers taxis by Ola and Uber in March last year.