Over 2 lakh drivers working with cab aggregators Ola and Uber went on strike on Tuesday, September 1, demanding a fare hike and moratorium on loan repayment considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
The striking cab drivers will assemble at Mandi House later in the day to press for their demands, which also includes withdrawal of speeding violation penalties among others, said Kamaljeet Singh Gill, the president of the Sarvodaya Drivers’ Association of Delhi.
"The strike has led to unavailability of cabs in many parts of the Delhi-NCR including Greater Noida, Dwarka and Uttam Nagar," Gill said.
The strike may pose challenges for commuters, including students who are to appear in the IIT-JEE Mains exam beginning on Tuesday.
Taxi drivers of various associations in Delhi-NCR, who work with Ola and Uber, decided to go on strike from Tuesday as their appeals for help did not lead to any action by the government, Gill said.
"Due to the acute financial crisis caused by the coronavirus-induced lockdown, drivers are unable to pay their EMIs. The moratorium of loan repayment ended and the banks are already putting pressure on us. Drivers are scared that banks will tow away their vehicles for not paying EMIs," he said.
The drivers have also demanded that fares should be hiked and their commission increased by the cab aggregators. Gill said the fare should be fixed by the government instead of the cab aggregators. The have also demanded the withdrawal of e-challans issued against their vehicles for speeding, according to a pamphlet circulated by them. They want a higher commission from the cab aggregators while travelling between Delhi and NCR destinations like Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon.
No reaction was immediately available from Ola or Uber about the impact of the strike on their services.
Amid the pandemic, the strike may cause hardships to commuters as Metro train services are yet to resume and public transport buses are running at reduced capacity in view of social distancing norms.
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