Uber and Ola was the only option for customers to travel around the city as scorching summer is here. Uber and Ola drivers has been on strike for the last 3 days in Ahmadabad. Drivers has been in strike in multiple cities such as Delhi and Bangalore. Strikes happened in Ahmadabad in February 17 and January 17 which were settled by the companies.

Uber has mentioned a notice in the Uber app about the strike however Ola has not announced anything regarding this.

Notice in Uber App

"We're facing external disruptions in our operations today which may affect your Uber experience. We are working hard to bring more cars on the road at the earliest and to keep the city moving."

Service Announcement in Uber App
Uber Notice

Uber Newsroom published a post on this. The screenshot is below.

I have been trying to book a cab via Uber and Ola for multiple times. Following are error messages appearing on the screen

Error Message in Uber

No CARS Available

Error Message in Ola

Sorry, no rides available now

It is clear that no cabs are there in the road and both the companies are not sure whether strike will be over in the coming days.

What are the Reasons for Strike?

Till last October 16, rate of travelling in Uber from Judges Bungalow, Ahmadabad to Gandhinagar was 210 Rs approximately. This rate has exponentially increased to 350 Rs from December 16 onward. The sudden spike increased the profit of the Uber and Ola companies multi fold and the government has taken any efforts to curtail this spiked up rates. There were no protest from the customers also against this. 

Even though rates has been increased multi-fold, the drivers who are doing the real work were getting the same amount per kilometer as before. There were no increases and curtailing of wages happened. This led to a strong protest by drivers as they made a Uber and Ola drivers Union in Ahmadabad. They initiated strike against the company in January 17 which was settled somehow.

Surcharge in Uber and Ola

There comes, another blow to customers. Surcharge. Uber and Ola introduced surcharge two times a day. Surcharge is applicable when number of cabs are less and number of customer are high. Surcharge can be double or triple or even up to 7 times of the actual amount. Surcharge means that if you have to pay hundred rupees normally to travel from one place to another and a lot of customers want to go that place, then as per surcharge, you have to pay maybe two hundred or 5 hundred to Uber. This lead to another massive amount of revenue to the company. 

Again the drivers were getting no increase in their income. No customers protested against this. The drivers again had a strike and the company stopped the practice of applying surcharge.

One Single Rate Ruining Drivers

Uber introduced one single rate for travelling in February 16. Before Uber app shows a band of charge such as 65-85 Rs from travelling to A to B. Uber usually show a map route for the driver to reach the destination by the shortest time. Sometimes customers ask to go from another route which takes more time or go to another place in between to pick up something or somebody. Hence the payment will be adjusted to that. 

Now Uber app started showing only single rate only such 75 from travelling from A to B. Customers has to pay only the single rate shown in the app even if the driver goes to another route which is longer than the app route. This is leading to loss in profit for drivers and usually they end up in travelling more distance that shown in the app route.

There are also multiple issues such number Uber and Ola drivers gone up but the customer base stays the same, more time had to be spend to get a customer etc.

When I talked to one Uber driver, he was telling me that the drivers union may start another similar app for Ahmadabad that will charge only ten rupees per kilometer. The Government authorities should intervene and put fixed rates for cabs and income level drivers by the companies. This way exploitation of customers will reduce and drivers will get enough income.

Update 15/4/17: Strike is Over

Drivers had discussed their demands with Uber authorities. However Uber has turned down all their demands and said that they can either work with whatever they are getting now or can stop using Uber. Drivers, disappointed with the companies approach and stand, went back to work. However it is known when another strike can happen again.

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