Ola and Uber cab drivers went on strike in Chennai yesterday, demanding government intervention so that app-based cab aggregators stop charging them high commissions. They are hoping that the government will help ensure fare regulation so that the drivers earn better even while commuters are charged fixed rates.
The All India Road Transport Workers Federation and the Tamil Nadu Urimai Kural Driver Trade Union have called for the strike to draw attention to the plight of the drivers. They also want bike taxis to be banned in the state because bike taxi services are adversely affecting their revenues.
The two-day strike has already disrupted normal life in Chennai with some auto drivers taking advantage of the helplessness of commuters, cashing in on the lack of cabs and charging high for travelling short distances. Today, that is, 17 October, the protestors plan to demonstrate at the transport department offices in Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, and so on.
The protesting drivers wish to know why Tamil Nadu has failed to impose a ban on bike taxis when such a ban exists in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
Chennai is reported to have about 70,000 autos and more than 60,000 on its streets.
The protestors want adequate rules to be put in place because only regulation will ensure fixed fare for passengers and better earnings for the drivers.
The taxi workers’ union has been advocating the introduction of an app by the Tamil Nadu government to offer aggregator services.