Trouble mounts for Ola, Uber as Bengaluru and Hyderabad drivers plan to join the strike

Trouble mounts for Ola, Uber as Bengaluru and Hyderabad drivers plan to join the strike After disrupting the services in Delhi for three days, Drivers working with online taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola are planning to expand their strikes to other major cities such as Bengaluru and Chennai.

Around 50,000 drivers across Bengaluru, up to 25,000 drivers in Hyderabad, and approximately 5,000 drivers in Chennai have planned to announce a strike on February 15th, even as their agitation in the capital continues.

"We are focusing on a strike across major cities in south India. The minimum Rs 1 lakh monthly revenue promised to us in the beginning doesn't exceed Rs 30,000 now, and many drivers have to pay at least Rs 16,000-18,000 on EMIs," Tanveer Pasha, president of the Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber (OTU) Drivers' Union in Bengaluru, told ET.

Pasha also claimsthat in 2016, about 7,0008,000 drivers protested on a single day in Bengaluru and he expects to see a larger turnout on February 15.

"Every day 50 new cars are registered with Uber and Ola in Bengaluru. While new drivers are lured in through perks, we want them to stop increasing the supply of cars and hiring new drivers and give the existing drivers what they were promised," added Pasha.


Bengaluru is the largest market in India for Ola and Uber, as it accounts for about one-third of their combined business of around 1,50,000 taxis. The number of drivers in the city will be much more, as some cabs ply nonstop with multiple drivers.

"We are committed to ensuring that driver partners are able to use the Uber app to have a rewarding entrepreneurial experience. Driver partners have flexibility and independence when accessing this economic opportunity. When issues crop up, we solve them on a one-to-one basis," An Uber spokesperson told ET.

M Sunil, president of the Telangana association for Ola and Uber drivers, and Tamal Arasan, secretary of the Chennai cabs association, both confirmed plans of a strike but acknowledged that drivers are unlikely to possess the financial capacity to strike for too long.

"Drivers need the fares. We can just about pay our EMIs and manage to survive through the month, so going beyond one day for a strike will be hard," Arasan told ET.

Consecutive changes in Uber's incentive structure have led to a drop in earnings of its drivers from four times the total fare in early 2015 to 5070% now, data collated by urban transportation consulting firm Valoriser Consultants show.