In a major embarrassment, Uber Chief Operating Officer (COO) Barney Harford had to be escorted out of a press meet mid-way, after a few protesting drivers managed to breach security and enter an event being held in Hyderabad.
The event was organised to announce a tie-up between the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) and Uber, for last-mile connectivity from metro stations.
The drivers who crashed the event, raised slogans demanding justice and protested rising fuel prices and lesser payments, which left them with negligible profits.
â€śInitially for 12 trips, Uber used to pay us Rs 4,000 but now for 40 trips they are paying only Rs 1,250. In Maharashtra, for 40 trips, they are getting Rs 14,000. With such huge difference, how will we survive? As many as 17 debt-ridden drivers have attempted suicide but neither the government nor companies are doing anything for us," U Sidharath Goud an Uber cab driver, was quoted as saying.
In a statement, Uber claimed that each driver was paid on a case-by-case basis on the number of hours that they drive.
â€śThat said, we are focused on ensuring that offering trips through the Uber app remains an attractive, entrepreneurial opportunity. Driver earnings across India have largely remained sustainable and consistent over the last several months. There have been no significant changes or adverse impacts to the same. While earnings is not a one size, fits all and varies by the time and trips individual driver partners take on Uber, over 80% of drivers who are online for eight hours a day continue to make between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 net after deducting Uberâ€™s 20% service fee,â€ť the statement said.
The statement also said that Uber was a 'two-side' market', which needed to balance the needs of riders and drivers.
Before the disruption, speaking on the collaboration with the HMRL, Barney Harford had told reporters, â€śOur goal is to integrate ridesharing with transit to ensure seamless commutes. By making it easy to get to and from metro stations, we are reducing the need for private car ownership and making infrastructure accessible to the citizens of Hyderabad.â€ť