‘Ola, Uber Haven’t Tried To Contact Us’

When Uber and Ola made their way into the Indian market in 2013, drivers had hoped for a better life. Four years later, they are out on the roads, struggling to make ends meet.

“I work at least 15 to 17 hours each day so that I can pay the bills and get food on the table. They [Uber and Ola] came in with huge promises, but they have cheated us after establishing themselves in the market,” said Sukhpal Singh, a driver who has 12 cars registered with the mobile-based cab aggregators.

Commuters hassled

On Monday, the drivers’ strike against Ola and Uber entered its fourth day, leaving commuters to deal with fewer cabs and surge prices.

Drivers led by the Sarvodaya Driver Association, meanwhile, gathered at Jantar Mantar to continue the sit-in protest.

“No representatives from Ola or Uber have tried to meet us to discuss our demands. This shows how little they value their drivers,” said Ravi Rathore, vice-president of the association.

The effect of the strike was visible in DTC buses and on the Delhi Metro, which ran packed on Monday.

Autos have a field day

“I had a horrible experience. I had to pay twice the fare to reach my office in Noida. I chose to take the Metro, but it was packed as other people, too, decided to do the same,” said Ashweta Lindoo, a resident of CR Park.

Even as commuters complained, auto rickshaws and radio cabs took advantage of the mass protest.

According to Sushant Arora, one auto driver charged him ₹250 for a 10-km journey. “After four auto drivers refused to take me, I had no option but to pay a higher price. One of them even said ‘jaana hai toh batao’ (Tell me if you want to go). They are taking advantage of the situation,” said Mr. Arora.

Over-charging complaints

According to the Delhi Traffic Police’s helpline, 53 complaints of over-charging and 12 cases of misbehaviour were reported against auto rickshaws on Monday.

But not everyone seemed adversely affected by the strike. Dhirendra Kumar, a 33-year-old auto driver, said his earnings had almost doubled in the last four days. “Our earnings from railway stations and airport had almost stopped. Passengers would get out of the stations and book these cabs. These drivers should have understood that if something is so attractive initially, there will be some clauses later. No one gives you more money just like that,” Mr. Kumar said.

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/‘Ola-Uber-haven’t-tried-to-contact-us’/article17298664.ece

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