Hundreds of taxi drivers who are contracted with taxi aggregators Uber staged a flash strike on Friday at the Kasturchand Park protesting against the flat rates being charged by the company. They said it was not sufficient.
Drivers, while speaking to TOI, cried foul against Uber for not considering their complaints. The aggregator had introduced schemes of Rs59 per five km, Rs88 for 7km and Rs99 for 8km. This, the drivers, said had reduced their income.
“The offer is getting good response from Nagpurians, but we are not getting any incentives from it,” said Akash Rangari, a driver.
According to Rangari, who is leading the agitation, there are around 5,500 Uber partners in Nagpur. “Protests have been on as our incentives have gone down drastically along with overall income per month. Those who own the cars are at a loss,” he told TOI.
More than 500 Uber drivers, who gathered at the KP on Friday morning, have alleged that the company had lured thousands of cab drivers by promising monthly income of about Rs70,000 but they were not able to earn more than Rs15,000 owing to the cut in incentives and number of trips. Many cars were seen parked at KP. In the evening, they shifted to Reshimbag.
The agitators had to leave KP after Sadar police read them the recent high court order which prevented any activity at the ground. The drivers said they had parked their vehicles there as they didn’t want to cause any congestion on the roads. They were at KP for nearly five hours.
Rangari claimed Uber had enrolled over 5,500 cab drivers from Nagpur by paying a joining incentive of Rs5,000 and another Rs5,000 for referrals. “Most of us have brought our vehicles on loans,” he said.
Drivers said that they were forced to accept the trips based on the schemes, which affected their daily earnings. They claimed that over the past few months, the incentives per ride for the partners have been reduced from Rs200 to not even Rs50 in Nagpur.
“Most of the drivers, who were working with different cab operators, have quit their regular jobs and joined Uber with the hope of earning a good amount. However, their dreams were shattered and all of them fell into huge debt traps as Uber cheated them,” alleged cab driver Nilesh Bhuyar (name changed). They also threatened to intensify the protests if Uber management failed to resolve the issue of incentives.
TOI learns that recently many Uber partners had already quit and switched over to its competitor. Uber didn’t respond to TOI’s call.