Monday saw the driver-partners of Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber (OTU) Drivers' Union in Bengaluru protest against the cab-aggregators, demanding that the companies follow a flat, government-approved rate for its services.
When the drivers staged a day-long protest at Freedom Park, they made sure that their demands were loud and clear, that they did not want incentives, but want the companies to charge the government-approved rate of Rs 19.5/km for AC vehicles and Rs 14.5/km for non-AC vehicles.
At present, Ola and Uber charge Rs 6 or Rs 7 per km, depending on the type of vehicle, but they also charge a base rate of Rs 40 and ride time charges of Re 1/minute, states a report in The Times of India.
The protesting drivers said that they would intensify their agitation and storm the offices of the aggregators, if the latter does not come out with a response on the matter within three days.
OTU Union president Tanveer Pasha told TOI that the drivers wanted a fixed fare rate, and not incentives.
â€œWe have decided to forgo incentives the companies offer with riders like completing 24 trips a day. The penalties for reaching a customer late or getting an average rating are hefty. We don't want incentives and penalties. The legally approved fare for cabs is fixed by RTOs and cab aggregators should charge customers the same. That is transparent, and there are no hidden costs like ride-time charges and surge pricing," he was quoted as saying.
Stepping in to solve the dispute, Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that he has called for a meeting with the cab-aggregators on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, the minister reportedly expressed uncertainty on the extent to which the government can intervene in a "company-employees" dispute.
Speaking to TOI on Monday, the minister said, â€œWe can only tell the companies to stick to the maximum tariff prescribed by the state government and ask them to stick to it. We have already told them that they are at liberty to charge less but certainly not more. Let me see what I can do."