Auto strike against Uber, Ola hits Mumbai commuters
Lakhs of commuters, including office-goers, were a harried lot as autorickshwas stayed off roads today following a statewide strike demanding ouster of app-based cabs like Uber and Ola besides revocation of Maharashtra government's decision to scrap the Hakim panel on auto and taxi fares.
Mumbai: Lakhs of commuters, including office-goers, were a harried lot as autorickshaws stayed off roads on Wednesday following a statewide strike demanding ouster of app-based cabs like Uber and Ola besides revocation of Maharashtra government's decision to scrap the Hakim panel on auto and taxi fares.
The one-day stir called by Mumbai Autorickshawmen's Union, the largest auto union of the city, was termed as "successful" by union leader Shashank Rao but Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said it was "partial" in suburbs and failed to evoke any response in most parts of the state.
The strike began in the midnight and ended at 6 pm.
The union had appealed to 15 lakh autorickshaw men across the state to join the stir.
Due to the impact of the strike, areas adjoining railway stations in Mumbai looked deserted as auto-rickshaws did not ply, forcing the commuters to fend for themselves, who were fleeced by some automen who were operating.
"An autorickshaw driver asked me to pay the double fare if I really wanted to hire his vehicle. Since it was concerning my 15-month-old baby, I had to give in to his demand as I had no other option," said Renu Tiwari, a resident from Powai, who had to visit Hiranandani Hospital.
Referring to the stir, Raote said the real reason behind the strike was fleet taxi services, rather than the fare hike issue.
He claimed the strike is partial in some suburbs and except Pune it did not evoke any response in other parts of the state.
On its part, state Transport department held a detailed discussion with Rao for over two hours.
"Around 21 demands were put forward by autorickshawmen, which we listened carefully and a few among them were sorted out immediately while rest would be discussed in next meeting," state transport commissioner Sonia Sethi said, adding, they have decided to meet representatives of Union at regular intervals.
She said 50 per cent rickshaws in RTO Mumbai (West) and 40 per cent rickshaws in RTO Mumbai (East) operated today.
The administration has done enough arrangements to blunt the impact of the strike, the commissioner said, adding, the stir was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported.
Meanwhile, Rao said the union would decide its course of action next week after meeting transport officials.
"(As of now) we have been very successful in explaining our side to administration," he added.
Another body called the Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union did not participate in the agitation.
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Uber has accused Ola employees for creating over 90,000 fake accounts on its app, which eventually led to huge losses.
Ola's main competitor in the Australian market is Uber. Interestingly, SoftBank is also an investor in Uber.
The problem was that Rikshaw drivers were rude, refused fares, did not ply short distances, and begged or bullied you for extra money at late nights.