By Drishya Subramaniam
The Ola and Uber cab drivers had gone on a strike on 10th March in Mumbai. But it seems as if that wasn’t the end of it.
We worry about our traveling, but who will about theirs? Yes, these app cab drivers are convenient for traveling within cities but what do these drivers get? Pushed against the walls, their earnings have fallen as low as below 50%. Not to mention most of them not only have a family to support but many have EMIs to be paid on the loans taken for their vehicles.
Also being bombarded with penalties and their incentives largely being reduced, many of them feel cheated. It’s surprising that a strike did not arrive any sooner than this. Being the first ever app strike in the city it definitely shook the lives of many.
Conducted to make their pleas heard, they were opposing the state government’s new rules under the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules 2017, for regulating app based taxis and controlling surge pricing.
Apparently this strike actually made the lives of many, go still in the city. Jeopardizing an ideal trip back home during Holi, it left people struggling to not miss their flights. While many faced hiked prices where prices surged as high as 800 rupees for a few kilometers of travel for some, others found it hard to hitch a hike.
But these were the least of the issues faced by the passengers, allegedly for some who found a cab also found a few threats with it. Stopped in the middle of the road the driver was asked to leave the vehicle and the passengers stranded midway.
The cabbies had decided to go on an indefinite strike from march 1st but postponed it to 21st march, to wait for a response. In the case of ignored pleas then it’s time to face the lights, for the all-time commuters.
Well, the strike on 10th was only for one union that was piggybacking their name, said the president of Sangharsh Tourist Chalak Malak Sangh; imagine what a full-fledged all India strike would turn out to be?
He added on that nearly 800 to 1,000 drivers of Ola and Uber was present at the Govandi meeting. He said that their union will submit a memorandum of the demands to the government and the managements of Ola and Uber. But the government is under pressure, as the traditional drivers and auto walas want to regulate these app based cabs for diverting away their profits.
This strike would affect all those who plan to carry a heavy baggage to the airport or back home, those who depend on a pool cab to reach their work-place, not to mention people like me who can barely give directions!
In a city of 20.7 million people who mill out of their houses every morning to travel long distances, transportation not only plays a phenomenal role, but is practically THE lifeline of people traveling multiple hundreds of kilometers. The need for cabs cannot be substituted by any other means of transport.
They are convenient, comfortable and affordable. A hindrance such as this, will not only make commuting chaotic but also make people immobile and helpless.
The Ola and Uber strike, while right in its inception, has caused a havoc in the lives of Mumbaikars. Many cabbies, while being sensitive to the needs of the public, are bound by their fellow associates’ rebellion against the unfair wages that they’re being paid. We can only hope that these cabbies receive the justice they deserve soon and we, as passengers receive the ease of commuting again!