Online taxi strike hits commuters in Kochi
Kochi: The commuters in the city faced a shortage of online cabs on Monday when a section of drivers went on a day-long strike protesting against the “anti-employee” stance of the taxi aggregators Uber and Ola. “There was a shortage of cabs. In the morning I got no reply for nearly half an hour and finally got one but demanded a surge pricing to the extent of 2.5 times,” said Sethuraj K., a native of Chitoor. The Online Taxi Drivers Union observed a one-day strike against the companies refusing to accept their charter of demands that includes Malayalam customer care service, making request ratio 1:20, calculating trip distance from the cab's location when the trip is allotted, making billings with Rs 14 per km and implementing uniform fare policy among others.
“The state and central governments should regulate the online taxi companies which are making huge profits by exploiting the drivers,” said ODTU president T.R.S. Kumar. The protesting cabbie drivers took out a march to the office of the online taxi aggregator at Palarivattom . However, the taxi aggregators have not yet changed their stance that forced the union to issue a threat of more protests. However, both companies maintain that the drivers are not employees but functioning merely on commission basis. “We’re working hard to enable the drivers to earn a living while ensuring the commuters enjoy a safe and comfortable travel with minimum fare,” a spokesperson said.