Pune: Due to the strike of drivers of app-based cab aggregators Ola and Uber, to voice their woes of falling business as their income has dropped to less than Rs 30,000 per month, commuters continued to face inconvenience on Tuesday too.
Passengers arriving at the airport, railway junction were the worst affected. The cabs available on the app charged almost triple the normal fare after adding hefty surge prices.
Prices jumped at least three to four times the actual fares. For instance, between Pune railway station and Kalyani Nagar, the fare of Uber Go was Rs 152 and Ola Micro showed Rs 132.
Many Uber and Ola cabs were off the road either out of fear or in support of the protest. But some of those which were functional faced a violent fate. According to a witness, at 11.30 am, some MNS workers entered the premises and forced cab drivers not to ride and they started vandalising the Uber counter.
Sapna Vaid, a flier who arrived at Pune airport, said, “I was trying to book a cab but failed. Ola drivers were charging extra from airport to Wagholi annexe.” Finally, she took a pre-paid autorickshaw from the airport to reach her home.
Another commuter, Jayant Belsare said, “When arrived at Pune railway station, I tried to book a cab at Ola counter but they refused to ply.” According to Ola spokesperson, “The interests of our driver partners and customers’ convenience is of paramount importance to us. While, we have seen a slight improvement in our services in Pune, however, for the situation to improve significantly, it is imperative that intimidation of driver partners and vandalism of their cars by vested interests be stopped. New economy companies like us are counting on the police for normalcy to return”.
The Uber spokesperson said, “Over the last 24 hours, a large number of our driver partners in Mumbai and Pune have reached out to us after they were forcefully asked to go offline by a small group of protestors. We are committed to ensuring that driver partners are able to use the Uber app to have a rewarding entrepreneurial experience with over 80 per cent who are online for eight hours a day, making between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 net (daily) after deducting Uber’s 20 per cent
The strike was called by the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena (MNVS), the transport wing of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.