Plagued by protesting drivers across the country, cab aggregators Ola and Uber have hiked fares by 50-70 per cent.

In Bengaluru, for instance, Ola and Uber regulars have been paying more than double the normal fares over the past few weeks, despite booking rides during non-peak hours. Joseph Mathew, an Uber faithful who travels 10 km from home to office everyday during non-peak hours says the regular ₹120-₹130 fare he pays has almost doubled to ₹200-₹220, ever since drivers have gone on strike from February 22, demanding better incentives and earnings.

“Uber has become unaffordable and I now travel to office by auto,” he said.

Delhiite Shruthi Raghuvanshi, who uses OlaShare or UberPool to commute to office, said, “Both Ola and Uber have clandestinely increased the minimum fares in Delhi from January and provide an overall ride fare estimate without revealing the break-up of the fare. UberGo increased its base fare from ₹40-₹60 and ride time charges went up from ₹1 to ₹1.5 per minute.” Charulata Shah from Mumbai said, Ola and Uber have set no upper limits for surge pricing, resulting in inflated fares since January.

Officials from both companies insist that the increased rates are due to non-availability of cabs in a given location. However, over a dozen driver partners that BusinessLine spoke to say despite logging onto the platforms from as early as 7 am, they receive just 2-3 trip requests over 6 hours, resulting in zero incentives for the day, reducing their earnings per month by almost half over the past 9-12 months.

Naveen 33, who enlisted as an Uber driver one year ago is worried as he is unable to earn enough to pay off his monthly EMI of ₹16,073 for the Tata Indica car he bought.

Lakshmikanth, 26, an Ola driver for the last 6 months, faces a similar situation. “Ola has raised the target for incentives. I make money only if I meet Ola’s target of 8 trips/₹1,400 billing, 11 trips/ ₹2,000 billing, 14 trips/₹3,000 billing, 16 trips/₹3,500 billing. The problem is, Ola favours drivers who buy cars through their financing scheme with more trip requests, allowing them to meet targets,” he alleged.