Office-goers and commuters in Mumbai that are dependent on app-based taxi services will be forced to find other ways to get around for the third day running, as the Uber and Ola driver strike continues into its third day. Most driver partners attached to either of the two app-based taxi services have, through their union, gone on strike to protest the reducing income and incentives from working with the ride-hailing platforms.
The strike began on Monday with the support of the key drivers’ unions, and many drivers have been refusing to ply their vehicles. BGR India has reached out to both Uber and Ola regarding this, and has received the following statement from an Uber spokesperson: “We regret the disruption caused to our rider and driver-partner community and condemn the use of violence and intimidation by certain individuals. The Hon’ble Bombay High Court has previously issued an injunction restraining unions, their leaders, members and their followers from preventing Uber driver partners from going about their work. We request the support of law enforcement to enforce the court’s order and hope that it will enable drivers to stay behind the wheel, something many have been telling us, without fear or harassment.
We remain committed to serving the city and ensuring rider and driver safety at all times. Through a series of monetary and other interventions like health and life insurance, we are focused on ensuring that our driver partners in Mumbai continue to access a stable income while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around the city and hence proactively take necessary measures from time to time.”
As a result of the strike, a large number of Uber and Ola vehicles are off the streets. While a few vehicles are operating, pricing is significantly higher due to increased demand. Additionally, the waiting times are higher, and in many cases, the platforms are simply refusing rides stating that no cars are available. Not all vehicles are off the streets, with some drivers (who may not be attached to unions, or vehicle owners operating their cars themselves) still working.
For the time being, Ola Auto (which employs Mumbai’s licensed autorickshaws through its app) is plying, as the autorickshaw drivers are not a part of the protest. Additionally, the city’s regular metered taxis and autorickshaws continue to operate, thus offering riders alternatives. While most of Mumbai’s commuters rely on mass transit options such as the local train system, buses and metro line, the app-based taxis are an integral part of the last-mile connectivity for many commuters.