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Protesting cab drivers in Bengaluru may start new service

Upset over the indefinite strike losing steam, the drivers’ association hit upon the new plan that is expected to sustain the income of drivers and eat into the market share of major cab aggregators.

Published: 05th March 2017 04:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2017 06:49 AM   |  A+A-

Hundreds of Ola and Uber drivers take part in an indefinite fast at Freedom Park.| NAGESH POLALI

Hundreds of Ola and Uber drivers take part in an indefinite fast at Freedom Park. | (Nagesh Polali | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The protest by drivers of Uber and Ola has hit fever pitch. With operators seemingly unrelenting so far, city-based drivers’ association is likely to float its own app-based cab service shortly.

Upset over the indefinite strike losing steam, the drivers’ association hit upon the new plan that is expected to sustain the income of drivers and eat into the market share of major app-based cab aggregators. The strike was called on February 22.

“We will ply by the government-fixed rates (Rs 19.5 per km for AC cabs). All drivers will exit from Uber and Ola platforms and join our network,” said Tanveer Pasha, president of Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola (UTO) Drivers and Owners Association. 

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy has reportedly extended his support to launch the new app. Pasha claims that nearly 40,000 taxi drivers in the city will join the new company.

“We will not impose surge pricing. We will ensure that drivers are not harassed and unrealistic targets for incentives are not set” he said. “Ola and Uber have grown in the city because of us. If all drivers decide to quit these platforms, then how will they operate here? They can’t bring outsiders to operate taxis in the city,” said Pasha. 

He said they will continue to protest against Ola and Uber for its violations. “They have betrayed thousands of drivers in the city. We will approach all cab users and expose the irregularities of these two companies.”

A few taxi drivers, however, are sceptical. “The idea is good but we have to wait and see whether the new cab company of the taxi associations can compete with corporate giants like Ola and Uber who have good fundingand technology support.  

Customers will use it only if services are cheaper than Ola and Uber, which may not be feasible,” said Ramesh Gowda, an Ola driver.  

In Kerala, for instance, the trade union wing of CPM launched ‘Kerala Taxi’, an online and app-based taxi hiring service, last year. But the response was poor as government fixed fare was higher than that fixed by Ola and Uber. In Bengaluru, airport taxis like Meru Cabs, Mega Cabs and KSTDC ply at government-fixed fare of Rs 19.5 per km for AC cabs.

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