A drivers union with members of cab aggregators Ola and Uber which had struck work last month, demanding better incentives, are mulling launch of their own App, with financial help from JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy. “As there is still a stalemate between cab aggregators Ola and Uber – and our union, some of us are mulling launching our own cab hailing app,” Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola Drivers And Owners Association President Tanveer Pasha told PTI here. He said the idea to launch this app was mooted by former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy during their protests last month, demanding better incentives from Ola and Uber cab aggregators. Kumaraswamy too confirmed that he would be extending financial help for this new venture.
“Various leaders of the drivers’ union showed interest in this new venture, which will be run and managed by drivers themselves. I will be extending financial help to them in their venture,” he said. The protesters were demanding that the government prevail over aggregators in asking them to adhere to the provisions under the ‘Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016.’ As per rules, rates for AC and non-AC taxis are fixed at Rs 19.50 per km and 14.50 per km for non-AC cabs, but drivers are reportedly given between Rs four to Rs five. The drivers also want Ola and Uber to stop attachment of new cabs as it affects their bookings, as also immediate stoppage of penalising drivers, based on customer ratings.
“The launch of our app will permanently solve our problem of getting exploited by the cab aggregators,” Pasha said. He said various leaders of drivers’ unions had shown keen interest in being a part of the venture which will be handed over to them by Kumaraswamy and run by themselves. Stating that all expenses to create the App would also be taken of by Kumaraswamy, he claimed that 20 firms from USA and Europe had already shown keen interest in developing the App, “which is expected to be ready within this month, if all goes well.” Over one lakh drivers attached to two cab aggregators had gone on strike last month, demanding better incentives and stopping attachment of new cabs which they said affects bookings.
The protests had also seen ransacking of a city Uber office on February 23. The following day Uber had moved Karnataka High Court, seeking to restrain the drivers from continuing the strike. The Court issued an injunction restraining striking unions, their leaders, members and followers from preventing driver partners of Uber from operating. Ola had requested police to effectively enforce the order and take action against people carrying out illegal acts and ensure safety of their riders and driver partners. Some of the drivers here have withdrawn from the stir.