The Indian summer is in full swing and no state is spared from the rising temperatures and the heat cracking down in full blast.

With temperatures in several states hitting over 40 degrees Celsius and it being unbearably hot outside, a social media post has gone viral where a cab driver is asking Ola and Uber passengers to pay extra for air conditioning (A/C) during a ride.

What Is Happening With Ola, Uber Drivers?

On 26th May, entrepreneur Divya Gandotra Tandon posted on her X/Twittter page with the caption “30-40% is too much !!!”

The message written in Hindi starts off with, “Dear OLA UBER customer, don’t force drivers to commit suicide by demanding AC. The company has already broken our backs with 30% 40% commission. Until this company listens to us drivers and sets a fair rate for us, we hope you will support us.” The notice ends with “If you need an AC, kindly pay Rs. 5 per kilometre extra.”

Many have shown anger with this, claiming that innocent customers should not have to bear the brunt of problems between the drivers and the company.

One user wrote, “Ola-Uber charge commission for the leads they get. Back when aggregators didn’t exists, how were the cabs then getting business ? Cabs should just ask Ola/Uber to provide an option on the app saying with / without AC and charge accordingly, so that things are smoother for both.”

Another defending Ola replied, “Its not True. OLA takes 15-20% commission plus 5% GST. The drivers often confuse 5% GST as OLA commission. Also having a mix of cash and digital payments make it difficult for drivers to understand things. Can tell this first hand as I worked with OLA for 3.5 years.”

One user commented, “This driver seems to be a more of an opportunist and fraud. He should move out of the business if that doesn’t suit him” while another said “I don’t want to comment on their demands however it’s not fair to punish your customers by not providing AC, rather than fighting with the company. Also there isn’t much mileage difference when you switch on the AC.”

One questioned the point of AC writing “Does AC actually cause so much difference in mileage/litre of fuel? Opening of windows actually causes major drop due to air drag. AC may affect the mileage inside cities.”

As per reports, the drivers don’t intend to inconvenience customers or themselves, but considering that last year’s No-AC Campaign had gotten some of their demands met, they’ve decided to try a similar method this time too.

The drivers claim that the company is not giving attention to their demands and this was the only way to get their voice heard.

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On 8th April the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU) had also announced their ‘No AC Campaign’ to protest against the per kilometre rates being low.

Founder-president of the TGPWU Shaik Salauddin said, “The cost of running our cabs with the AC on is ₹16-18 a kilometre. After accounting for commissions charged by Uber, Ola and Rapido, we are able to earn only ₹10-12 a kilometre. With deep regret, we inform all customers who are hailing our services of our inability to offer high-quality rides. With the AC on and the current fare structure, we are simply unable to meet the costs of running our cabs. Hence, we are launching the No-AC Campaign starting this week.”

Salauddin further added, “Through this campaign, we hope that we are able to reach out to the government and platform companies to pay timely attention to the daily issues faced by the drivers of all app-based taxis. We request the Telangana government to urgently implement uniform fares per kilometre for all taxis attached to platform companies.”

This is not the first time that Ola and Uber drivers have used the A/C as a way to protest against company policies or show their grievances in some way or another.

In April of 2022, Bengaluru joined West Bengal, New Delhi, Noida, and Telangana, in using a ‘no AC’ policy to show their issues with Ola and Uber, especially the fuel price hike and low commissions.

Cab drivers started to avoid turning on the AC and gave reasons such as COVID-19 regulations or that AC is only included in Ola Prime and sedan bookings. User Reema Lal on Facebook commented, “I booked a Prime Sedan Ola rider because my last Ola mini ride driver refused to switch on the AC. But guess what my Ola Prime driver too refused to turn on the AC on a burning afternoon. Tried to search for a place to log this complain…but it is next to impossible on their app.”

Another user Syed Kaleem Mohiyuddin wrote, “Poor cab drivers can’t afford to switch on the AC due to high fuel consumption. Unless the prices of petrol and diesel and CNG are reduced, it will be difficult for drivers to even run their vehicles. People should put up with this or pay a little extra to compensate the drivers. Still it will be better than having your own car” on social media.

In March of 2022, the TGPWU also launched a ‘no AC’ campaign in Hyderabad with drivers explaining to the passengers the reasons for doing so.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Times Now News, The Hindu, Hindustan Times

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Uber Driver, Uber ola, Uber ola Driver, cab booking app, ola, ride hailing apps, uber, ola Driver, Cab Driver, Fuel Price, Air Conditioning

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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