Drivers working for appbased cab companies like Uber and Ola are going on strike from Tuesday in DelhiNCR. Drivers are seeking an extension to pay EMI of their vehicles, increase in fare per km, reduction in commission by companies operating the services and rollback of echallan.
Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi, a union of Ola-Uber drivers, claimed that around 200,000 taxis are with them in the NCR. On Thursday, they said they would go on strike from 1 September until their demands were met. The Association said that most of the drivers associated with the Association are those who have taken loans from the bank to buy vehicles and have to pay monthly instalments of up to Rs 15,000. Driversare upset with invoice worth lakhs of rupees due to overspeeding. In this lockdown, 50 to 185 challans of Rs 2,000 per challan have come to the drivers. Hemu Kashyap was driving a car with a loan from a private bank, and due to not being able to pay the bank’s instalment, the bank people took Hemu’s car. “The companies have reduced our commission due to which income has further reduced.”
Rakesh, who runs an appbased cab, has 184 invoices, Jeetendra has 124 challans, Ankit Kumar has 109 challans and Vivek Pandey has 86 challans for over speeding and each challan is worth Rs 2,000. Not only this, Mohammad Wasim told The Daily Guardian that app-based cab companies were earlier getting Rs 15 per km and Rs 2.50 paise per minute.“But the companies are now paying at the rate of eight and a half rupees per km and eighty paise per minute. Also, customers are getting a 20% discount from us. On one hand, big challans are issued and on the other hand, the companies are cutting down on our commission; we haveno other alternative but to strike,” Wasim said.
Kamaljeet Gill, president of Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi, told The Daily Guardian that their condition has deteriorated since the lockdown. Most of the people are still working from home, due to which the number of customers has come down to only 10%. He said that the drivers are struggling to meet the daily target. Kamaljeet Gill said: “We have sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Union Finance and Transport Ministers, urging them to give exemption to pay EMI by 31 December this year. Gill further said that he has got an exemption between March and August, but he needs to diversify, as work is not picking up. He said that many drivers are borrowing from friends to run their homes. “These days, after a 26% commission reduction in maintenance and fuel charges to the company, a driver earns around Rs 150- 200 per day. This is far less than what we used to earn before Covid. We request the government to save their livelihood; otherwise, drivers will have to sell their cabs or take back cabs. We have a strike on 1 September; if the government does not listen, we will sit on the road with the whole family.”
If cab drivers go on strike, thousands of people of Delhi-NCR may face difficulty in commuting, as a limited number of people are allowed to travel in government buses and Delhi Metro has not started operations yet.