Drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola have threatened to go on a strike from March 18 midnight, which effectively means that the commuters would not get access to the cabs from Monday morning. The strike is likely to cripple the cab services in big cities that include Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, among other cities. "Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs five to seven lakh, and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month but are unable to even make half of this, owing to the mismanagement by these companies," Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, who is organising the strike, said.
Naik further alleged that these taxi-hailing companies, Ola and Uber, are giving first priority to company-owned-cars instead of driver-owned vehicles. The practice has caused a slump in their business. While taxi-hailing companies offered loan-guarantee letters to drivers through the Mudra scheme and that too without any verification, they are defaulting on repayment now as their costs are not covered, he claimed.
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In Mumbai alone there are over 45,000 cabs on these aggregators but due to the slump in business there has been a fall of 20% in the number of cabs running on these platforms in the city. "If our demands are not met, we will go on an indefinite strike," he said, adding the drivers had approached MNS leader Raj Thackeray to intervene in the matter.
Other unions of Ola and Uber are also in support of the strike, Naik said.
"The transport department should take strict action as these taxi-hailing companies are violating permit conditions, and also encroaching on the taxi-rickshaw business. It is good they are going on strike," Al Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union said.
While Ola declined to comment, an Uber spokesperson said termed the strike call as speculative.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)