Ola, Uber taxi drivers' strike leaves commuters troubled

Scores of commuters in the National Capital Region (NCR) faced huge problems on Saturday as most app-based taxi drivers have been on strike since Friday over financial issues with their partners Ola and Uber.

However, in a statement, a Uber spokesperson said, "a small group of people are disrupting the service in parts of Delhi and there have been isolated reports of threats and intimidation".

"We are working hard to ensure reliable rides are available for everyone and we can keep the city moving. We call on authorities to ensure the safety of riders and drivers," said the spokesperson.

However, commuters like Rohit Yadav, 38, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis, are facing difficulties in hiring cabs. Yadav, who works at a private company in Gurugram, told IANS he is reaching office late since the last two days.

"This is unfortunate... I have to pay extra money to reach office. Neither taxi drivers nor autorickshaw drivers are showing any sympathy to people like us who are suffering from chronic problems," he complained.

Other commuters as well, who mostly depend on cab service to reach office, had to face similar troubles.

"It's pathetic! I reached my office late by an hour due to this strike," Abhilash Mishra, who works in a private company, said.

He also said: "As there were no cabs near my house, auto drivers were demanding twice the fare. They seemed to be taking benefit of the situation."

"However, after trying relentlessly, I finally managed to book a private taxi," he added.

Vikash Pandey, who works in a private company also had similar stories to tell.

Pandey told IANS that earlier, he hired app-based service to reach office but now he has to take either cycle rickshaw or share autorickshaws.

"I have to change autorickshaw from different places as none of them is plying directly from my house to office. It is consuming extra time and also creating a burden on my expanses," he said.

A call was made for a general strike by Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union against the ever-changing policies of the app-based cab companies.

One of the drivers told IANS that these companies do not give the same incentives as they used to when they were first launched.

"They lured drivers with attracting offers... due to falling fares, we could not earn a good amount of money," a cab driver said.

Another cab driver told IANS that their associations are demanding they should receive the fare as sanctioned by the government.

He also blamed app-based service for the fall in earnings and demanded better perks, relaxed hours and accident insurance among other things.

One of the drivers said the companies now prefer their own cars over the ones attached to them by other drivers.

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