Ola and Uber taxi drivers stage protest in Pune, flyers cause nuisance | spcilvly

On the flight to Pune from Delhi, Shirish Kamble and his family never thought that they would have to wait for more than an hour to catch a taxi outside the Pune airport. But they did it! The reason was the one-day protest by Ola and Uber drivers against the low remuneration per kilometer paid by these aggregator companies.

At least 15,000 passengers travel daily from Pune airport.  (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
At least 15,000 passengers travel daily from Pune airport. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

“We reached Pune from Delhi in the afternoon and when we tried to book a cab using Ola and Uber mobile apps, none of the drivers responded. We had to wait for almost an hour, after which I called my friend to pick us up from the airport. We finally managed to travel to Hadapsar,” said Shirish.

With nearly 15,000 passengers traveling daily from Pune airport, the Kambles were not the only ones who had to face this ordeal.

After failing to hail a taxi, Megha, an IT professional, took a rickshaw from the airport. “Today morning when I reached Pune airport, I started booking a taxi online as usual. For 30 minutes, none of the drivers responded to her, so I decided to leave the airport and book an auto-rickshaw,” she said.

Around 300 Ola and Uber taxi drivers staged a protest on Monday over the low fares they are paid. According to the policy of these companies, drivers are paid $9 a.m. $12 per kilometer, less than the price of autorickshaws in the city. The drivers refused to take passengers from the airport and demanded a change in policy and an increase in kilometer rates.

“We can no longer afford to offer taxi services for passengers traveling from Pune airport as the per kilometer rates paid to us by the companies are much lower. For several months we have been demanding an increase in rates per kilometer, but both companies have done nothing. Today we staged a day-long protest and kept our taxis out of service around Pune airport,” said Santosh Shinde, a taxi driver.

Another taxi driver, Rohit Kendre, said, “The state government has fixed rates for rickshaw drivers starting from $23 while they pay us $12 per kilometer so there is a huge difference and we barely managed $40 to $50 even after long distance travel as there is a company commission on our total charges. Therefore, our demand is that the per kilometer charges be increased to $18 per kilometer.”

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