After private cab operators Ola and Uber set up kiosks at Chennai airport on Wednesday, about 300 pre-paid taxi operators started protesting over fears that it may affect their livelihood, reported C Shivakumar from The New Indian Express.
The kiosks were put up at the airport after both the private cab operators tied up with Airports Authority of India (AAI) which will allow passengers to book cabs from the airport kiosks.
Both prepaid taxi operators and call-taxi operators have opposed the move.
About 300 prepaid call taxi operators protested and were detained at a marriage hall near the airport, where they staged a hunger strike.
Chennai Airport Prepaid Meter Taxi Owners Driver Union secretary MV Sukumar and treasurer K Parasuraman said that this move would affect the livelihood of more than 1,000 families.
Sukumar said that they have Rs. 9 lakhs loan to buy new Swift Dzire to change the old ambassadors and now how can they ditch us? he asked.
Marketing manager of Fast Track APA Mohanraj, said that they got the contract through tender by paying Rs. 45 lakh a month as rent but Ola and Uber have to pay only Rs.15 lakh for operating from the airport and that too without going through the tender process, reported TNIE.
He added that when they asked the AAI to fix a fare of Rs. 150 for the first four kilometres, it was denied but now Ola and Uber are charging Rs. 60 for first four kilometres.
Airport Director G Chandramouli told TNIE that this move would help passengers to easily book a cab from the kiosk without any hassle of waiting or moving out of the airport.
Meanwhile, PR Samy of the Call Taxi Drivers and Owners Union said that the kiosks are kept on a trial basis and it would not affect the livelihood of the prepaid taxi owners.