Ola cab drivers protest in Chennai, demand reduction in duty time

Drivers also demand that they be put on conference with complainants
Ola cab drivers protest in Chennai, demand reduction in duty time
Ola cab drivers protest in Chennai, demand reduction in duty time
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Since Monday, hundreds of Ola drivers have been protesting outside the Ola office at Ekkaduthangal in Chennai. When Ola was initially launched, drivers say they were asked to make at least three rides, but it was then made mandatory that they make 15. The drivers get Rs 6,000 as incentive for completing the 15-ride target.

Drivers often don’t know what customers’ complaints are and if they approach the office, they are not given an explanation. “Even if we call the helpline, they claim to not know the reason and tell us to call the Bengaluru headquarters,” complains Manikandan, an Ola driver for the past six months. For a driver, a complaint from a customer could cost a day’s work. We are demanding a conference call facility where we can directly talk to a customer,” he says. 

Ola drivers have been asked to be available to customers round-the-clock, but Manikandan says they cannot manage. “We are demanding a duty time of 10 hours instead of 24,” he says. Drivers also receive a penalty on personal complaints, which they now demand to be removed.

“It may show on the map that we are two minutes away, but the road might be a one-way and the U-turn could be 2-3 km away; or the traffic could delay us. Customers get annoyed and they complain. Our ride then gets cancelled and we have to report to the office immediately and won’t be allowed to work the rest of the day,” he says.

The prime demand of the drivers includes star rating based customer feedback system be delinked from their incentives and removed altogether, the Rs 100 cancellation payment for drivers if a booking is cancelled after the driver reaches the customer and toll rates to be charged from customers.

However, the crux of the demands revolves around increasing the fares for all categories of cabs from current levels, which drivers say are unrealistically low. "We do not want incentives either. The surge pricing issue makes customers give us low ratings, after which we do not get good incentives anyway," pointed out Manikandan. 

This is not the first time that the Ola Chennai office has seen drivers gather to demand resolution of issues. A few months ago, around 20 drivers along with their supporters took up delayed payments of transactions done on Ola money. 

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