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Ola and Uber drivers go on strike demanding better remuneration, a ban on bike taxis

The drivers staged an agitation here urging the state government to intervene and regulate the app-based cab aggregators immediately and also to resolve the issue of the high commission charged by the aggregators.


Ola and Uber drivers go on strike demanding better remuneration, a ban on bike taxis
Cab drivers of Ola and Uber went on a strike on Monday demanding fare regulation. Credit- DH Photo

Chennai: A large section of cab drivers of Ola and Uber went on a strike on Monday demanding fare regulation, a ban on bike taxi services that they say are eating up their revenue, and stringent action on certain toll booths functioning beyond their contract period.



The All India Road Transport Workers Federation and the Tamil Nadu Urimai Kural Driver Trade Union, which announced the strike have demanded a ban on bike taxi services.


The drivers have called for a massive protest in the city on October 18 to highlight their demands. "With the interior areas of Perungudi still lacking connectivity, I usually book a cab to reach my office.


Due to the strike, I had to depend on an auto, after an agonising wait" says Mahesh, a commuter. P Sridhar of Madipakkam, whose father was scheduled for an appointment at a corporate hospital in Alwarpet, says he lost all hope of ensuring a comfortable ride to the hospital. “After trying the app for nearly an hour, I had to approach the local auto and agree to the ride for a hefty sum,” he said.



Though the strike has impacted commuters, the issue concerns drivers' livelihood, argues Dilshan, a cab driver who has decided not to switch on the app for the next two days.


“Those aggregators are exploiting us and have not provided us the commission we have been asking for. As regards to the bike taxi service, it is affecting our daily earnings,” he said and sought to know why bike taxis in Tamil Nadu should not be banned when neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have enforced a ban.


Claiming that there were nearly 70,000 autos and over 60,000 taxis plying in Chennai, a protestor, Sakthivel, said that drivers like him have been raising these demands for a long time.



According to M Bhoopathy, General Secretary of Tamil Nadu Call Taxi Workers' Union, the Centre’s guidelines on the motor vehicle aggregators issued in 2020 were not implemented in the state. “The lack of rules impacts both the drivers and commuters. Hence, a regulation would help to fix a fair fare for commuters and better remuneration for the drivers,” he said.


Further, he said the taxi workers' union has been insisting upon the state government to launch its own app to provide aggregator services, ban bike taxis and fix fares for call taxis.


The cab drivers have announced a similar strike in Tiruchirappalli on October 17 and said it would follow it up with a massive protest on October 18 at Egmore here, highlighting their demands.


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