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Uber, Ola not honouring promises they made: Drivers

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 22, 2018

Drivers, who run cabs for Uber and Ola, holding a dharna in Hyderabad on Saturday to protest against the dwindling incentives and incomes. -- K V Kurmanath

Hyderabad cab owners sulk at falling incentives; demand assured monthly incomes

As the app-based cab services Uber and Ola offer sumptuous monthly incomes, Naveen*, 27, has taken a loan to buy a Swift Dzire to join the networks. Three months later, he found that he is getting only Rs 30,000 a month and after paying an EMI of Rs 15,000 and spending another Rs 10,000, he is left only Rs 5,000.

On a sunny morning, Naveen joined a few hundred other drivers, or ‘partners’ as referred to by the new age cab firms, to protest against the promises that were not honoured.

He pops up his Apple phone to showcase a series of messages from Uber that periodically updates on the incentive packages. “We get a message suddenly from the company, intimating about the changes. More often than not, they do bring it down,” Ramkumar*, another cab driver, told Business Line.

There are about 25,000 cabs that are attached to Uber, Ola and Taxi for Sure, the three firms that provide app-based cab services in the city. Both the firms refuse to indicate the number of cabs in their fleets.

With the firms refusing to meet their demands, the drivers had resorted to protests two months ago at Uber’s office at Madhapur. They have resumed their protests today, with hundreds of drivers gathering at the Dharna Chowk near the Indira Park, raising slogans against the firms’ anti-driver policies.

Holding placards flaying Uber, Ola and Taxi for Sure managements, drivers raised slogans as leaders of various transport vehicle associations addressed them.

“Some of us have sold gold and took loans to buy cabs. Some others quit their driving jobs to become owners in one or both the networks. Uber had projected a monthly income of Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 month,” he said.

Uber pays Rs 250 an hour during super-peak hours (4-8 pm Monday-Friday; 4 pm-12 am Saturday-Sunday); Rs 230 an hour during peak hours (8 am- 12 noon; 8 pm-12 am Friday) and Rs 180 an hour during non-peak hours. “You must do at least one trip every two hours to get paid. Please note that there is no reward on a per-trip basis,” says one of the series of Uber messages to the ‘partners’.

“This is what they promise but are not paying according to the rates,” Ramkumar* alleged.

Key demands

The agitating drivers have released a list comprising 11 demands. “The firms must honour its promise of providing a business of Rs 70,000 a month. They should not charge for devices and for Internet. Airport drops and pickups must be counted at Rs 1,000 for 30 km and Rs 18 for every additional kilometre,” the list said.

The drivers also wanted the managements to do away with the classification of peak and non-peak hours.

They also demanded that the management should provide accidental and health insurance to drivers and their families.

Uber's response

"Some of our driver-partners in Hyderabad have expressed their concerns regarding temporary incentives, " Siddharth Shanker, GM, Uber Hyderabad, has said.

"Our teams are working with driver partners on an individual basis to help address any concerns. Uber has a system in place to support and address concerns of driver-partners attached to our platform and our team is committed to doing that, " he said, when approached for his reaction to the protests in Hyderabad.

"Uber is deeply committed to creating sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities for our driver partners who are thriving as a new breed of entrepreneurs, " he said.

( *Name changed on request )

Published on November 14, 2015

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