Booked your cab through the Ola and Uber mobile app and are waiting for it, when suddenly the driver cancels the ride in the last moment?

Of course no one likes rejection. Keeping this in mind, the Delhi government is on the verge of bringing in a regulatory policy that ensures a Rs. 25,000 fine for such violations.

At a time when the Delhi government is planning to introduce a string of new policies, cab drivers such as Govind, a taxi driver in Delhi-NCR are in a dilemma.

Ola and Uber drivers face a brutal reality

Let us help cab drivers too

It is rightly said that the consumer is the king in the market and this case presents no different scenario. Riding with Govind today morning, I dwelled deep into the life of these cab drivers.

He recounted that one week back he took a trip from Delhi to Greater Noida, driving 2 men who were under the influence of alcohol.

After their trip was completed the app showed an amount of Rs. 680, which these 2 men refused to pay blatantly. Govind had no choice but to comply with them in the fear of getting into a brawl or being robbed of his belongings in the middle of the night.

Although the customer is bound to pay a sum of Rs. 50, if he/she cancels the cab and Uber or Ola charges a fine, they can straight away in a few clicks recover the money back on the app itself. Unfortunately, cab drivers like Govind have no means to recover the money they have lost.

After a while, he mentioned how fuel prices are off the charts, but urban residents remain unaffected while cab drivers like him are the victims as cab companies haven’t raised their fares in the wake of increased competition.

“Honestly, it hasn’t affected me much, because Uber and Ola’s fares have been stable,” said Manek Kohli, a 24-year-old New Delhi resident.

The marginal increase in rupee has lead to the increased in the price of non-polluting CNG in Delhi and Mumbai but the case for cab drivers in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Patna where cabs are run on diesel is even worse.

Govind emphasised that the USP of Ola and Uber was that they incentivised drivers heavily with high rates of commission on each ride. But amid mounting losses, firms have slashed the monetary incentives for drivers.

Also Read: Meet Mamta, Delhi’s Female Uber Driver

The problem

In 2013, when Uber entered the Indian market it was an all-out tussle between Uber and Ola. To have the upper hand, the two companies promised higher earnings and minimum commission – as less as 10% to be paid to the aggregators.

When I talked to an Ola cab driver in Patna he informed me that the commission was as high as 27%, while in Delhi it is around 20% which is again high from the promised 10%.

The cab driver in Patna told me that he sold his agricultural land to avail the vehicle loan. The aggregators asked him to buy the vehicle and earn Rs. 1 Lakh a month which is highly unlikely now.

Apart from the loan these drivers have to repay to the likes of Ola, there is the 27% commission they need to pay for each ride. Adding to the increase in fuel prices, his earnings are at an all-time low.

According to Govind, state-run buses which have slashed prices and increased metro connectivity in Delhi-NCR have surely eaten a big piece of the taxi pie.

Drivers also have the perception that the concept of surge-pricing is doing more harm than good as it is driving customers away. Although the Delhi government is in talks to regulate surge pricing it still remains a distant dream.

Strikes by drivers have not proved fruitful until now

What are the cabbies doing about it?

As everyone has seen, there have been innumerable protests in the recent years but it has derived little to no changes.

For instance, in November 2016 cab drivers in Guwahati went off the road over reduced incentives. The next month cab drivers in Hyderabad went on a five-day strike. A month later, it was in Bengaluru. The strikes in Delhi last year lasted for 13 days. Even cities like Chennai, Kochi, and Mumbai have been the centers of protests.

The question arises – what’s the point in protesting?

People tend to protest to make their voices heard in the ears of the government and the companies but the lack of success in earlier strikes has been a dampener.

It’s time the cab drivers are given an importance while framing policy relating to them. But for now, the ride for them remains a distant and tiring one.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: TOI, Financial Express, Scroll

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