As Chennai Cab Drivers Go On Strike, OLA & UBER Three-Folds Their Price

| January 3 , 2018 , 19:01 IST

Thousands of commuters across Chennai were forced to pay exorbitant fares for OLA and UBER call taxi cabs after a large number of cab drivers affiliated with Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU) went on strike on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu Call taxi drivers and owners association affiliated to CITU Chennai Mahanagar Motor Vahana Thozhialar Sangam called for a strike demanding the government to introduce standard auto meters for call taxi and revise the government order relaxing the eight-hours per day restriction on call taxis.

They claimed that cab drivers are getting exploited by cab aggregators. On Wednesday, with about 40,000 vehicles participated in the strike, OLA and UBER introduced the surge price early morning. This led to increasing cab fares across the city up to three times the normal fare.

The condition of many other commuters who depends on cab service for their transportation was no different. Particularly, those commuters heading to Airport, CMBT terminus, Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations for outstation travel are worst affected.

The cab fare from Chennai Airport to CMBT increased to Rs.450 as against Rs.230 in a normal day. "I have the huge luggage bags which I cannot take into buses. For a travel from Thiruvanmiyur to CMBT, I was Charged Rs260 as against Rs140 which I regularly pay," said R Sharadha, who took an Ola cab.

The protesting cab drivers urged the government to constitute a committee to fix standard meter fare for call taxi in Chennai. The Ola an Uber take 27 percent of earning a commission and they struggle to meet their family demands.

"Cab fare Rs6 to Rs9 per kilometre was too low. As more than 50 percent cab is running on rental, while 25 percent cabs purchased through bank loans. It's nearly impossible to earn Rs3,000 a day if we work only for eight hours. Currently, a driver had to ride for about 250 to 300 km at Rs.450 to Rs.500 a day." said V Athimulam, Treasurer of Chennai. 'Thozhargal' unorganised car driver association.

The Tamil Nadu call taxi owners and Drivers Association President P Anabazhagan said the government should fix standard fares for call taxis in Chennai and revise the permit rules to allow two drivers for a cab so as to operate tourists taxi for more than 12 hours.

Thousands of drivers who protested near Chepauk stadium raised slogans demanding the government to constitute a committee to protect the welfare of about 60,000 families involved in the business.