Hyderabad: Compounding commuters’ woes, cab drivers launched an indefinite strike on Saturday in support of their demand that the State government must step in to ensure cabbies’ welfare and regulate their working conditions due to the alleged exploitation by cab aggregators.
Telangana State Taxi and Drivers JAC Associations (TSTDJAC) claimed that 50,000 cabs have gone off the roads, though a sizeable number of cabs operated in the city under surge pricing.
Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan invited TSTD-JAC for discussions at 9-00 pm
on Saturday. She reportedly spoke to Sheikh Salauddin, chairman of TSTD JAC.
Salauddin claimed that the strike was a success with the participation of more than 60,000 drivers. Initially the protests were held at airport with drivers holding placards. All through the day, however, cabs run by aggregators were available to drive to airport.
Sources said cab aggregators did not find any difference in the wake of strike by cabbies.
Employees of some IT majors said their shuttle picked them up like any other day.
As for cabs on the road, Salauddin said, “Even if you check the app now, you will find that there is a surge in prices. Surge prices were not just in peak hours but in non-peak hours. In Ola, most of the cabs were not to be seen and displayed ‘no cabs available’. Some of the drivers are coming on the road due to helplessness and to meet their ends”.
Surge pricing has been the norm since TSRTC launched strike on October 5th.
Uber spokesperson, in an email statement to the siasat.com, said: “We regret any disruption caused to our rider and driver partner community, due to a small group of individuals. We strive to provide reliable and safe transport options to get around the city and hope to minimize any distress caused.
We are committed to the well-being of our driver partners and have processes in place to address their concerns and issues.”
Salauddin said that even though they did not want to create difficulties for the public, the government was not ready to talk to them.
He further adds that “There are 1.20 lakh drivers, of whom about 37,000 work for IT companies and the remaining are associated with the aggregators and other services. Drivers are associated with various sub-unions and we are yet to register them”.
The drivers of an association, with 15 sub cab unions on board, issued a statement calling for a strike against the practices of Ola, Uber and IT companies, demanding rein statement of off-boarded drivers, minimum business guarantee for drivers, implementation of G.O. Ms no. 61 and 66, KYC approval of customers and constitution of Taxi Driver Welfare and Administration Board for drivers’ welfare and safety.
By Mohammed Hussain email@example.com