Commuters in Mumbai relying on cab aggregators Ola and Uber could be inconvenienced on Monday as over 45,000 cabs are likely to go off the roads, after the transport wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) called for a strike of drivers.
The strike has been called by the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena in Mumbai as well as other Metro cities. The party claims that over 80,000 drivers across India are supporting the strike. It said that the strike was called because drivers are not being able to cover costs due to falling business.
“Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 5-7 lakh and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month. But drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies,” Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena told PTI.
Cab fairs skyrocketed early Monday morning. According to The Times of India, the few cabs which are plying on road in Mumbai, specially Uber, are charging surge price which is nearly two times the normal fare.
A ride, via the Uber Economy Pool service, from Lower Parel to Andheri, was priced at Rs 362 while for Uber Go service, it showed Rs 572. The fare for the Uber Premier service was Rs 786.
Other taxi unions, including the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, have also extended their support to the strike. Union leaders also said that drivers in other cities like New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune, among others will also be participating in the strike.
Earlier, Naik had told The Indian Express that at least 80,000 drivers will support the strike.
Naik further alleged that these taxi-hailing companies were giving first priority to company-owned cars rather than driver-owned vehicles, causing a slump in their business.
If their demands were not met they would be going ahead with the strike as expected, he had indicated.
The drivers demands include deciding fares according to cost of the vehicle, reinstating blacklisted drivers who have been given low ratings by passengers, according to The Economic Times.
Meanwhile, the police issued notices to leaders of the union under Section 149 of CrPC relating to unlawful assembly.
“Notices of Section 149 of CrPC have been issued to Sanjay Naik, president, Arif Shaikh and Nitin Nandgaokar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena as preventive action. If they violate any orders, they are liable to be prosecuted,” said Pandit Thorat, senior inspector of the Andheri police station.
In Mumbai alone, there are over 45,000 such cabs but a slump in business has seen a drop of about 20 percent in their numbers.
Cab-hailing companies have so far stayed away from interfering in the matter. “We have been informed by the Mumbai Police that they have proactively taken all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of commuters during the cab rides in the city,” said an Ola spokesperson.