Fares of popular taxi aggregators, Uber and Ola, rose up to three times the original cost on Monday, and the cascading effect on the fares, according to The New Indian Express, was caused by the unavailability of taxis due to drivers from three unions announcing a strike.
A section Ola and Uber drivers will stay off city roads on Tuesday too, protesting long working hours, falling incentives and alleged exploitative practices.
Over 50 taxi drivers assembled at the office of Centre of Indian Trade unions in Guindy, according to TNIE. CPI(M) leader Bhimrao, reportedly announced that three driver associations have joined hand with CITU for a three-day strike starting Monday, during which taxis will not be operated.
The protesters put forth a 13-point demand list. They wanted night/waiting time charges to be revised and even the driver rating system to be removed. â€œOur main appeal is that the State government should intervene and fix the fares, just as it has done for autos," TNIE quotes Bhimrao as saying. He further announced plans to stage a blockade in front of the Transport Commissioner's office in Chepauk on Wednesday.
Drivers claimed that they were paid a commission of 30% every day and that with monthly incomes dwindling, they are unable to support their families.
The strike in Chennai comes after a series of protests by Ola and Uber driver in Delhi and Bengaluru from February 12. According to Hindustan Times, the protesters' major grouse was a drastic cut in incentives which has impacted monthly earnings. While Ola pays incentives based on the number of rides per day, Uber's incentives depend on the total value of rides a day.
In Bengaluru, after their protests failed to incite any form of response from cab aggregating companies or the Transport Department, drivers have decided to start their own app. The logistics are currently under discussion.