• Wed. Nov 16th, 2022

Unions vie for a piece of the pie from aggregator taxi drivers

Several unions want to attract aggregator taxi drivers. The MRRKS union – a group of aggregator drivers – wrote a letter to the state Department of Transportation and aggregator companies demanding a fare hike. Even the MNS-led union demanded the same and a select few demonstrated. Their demand is for a massive increase in rates per kilometer by three. For the past two days now, there has been discontent among aggregator taxi drivers.

In a letter written to Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab and Aggregation Companies Uber and Ola by Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh (MRRKS); the union demanded an immediate increase in aggregator taxi fares due to soaring fuel costs.

Sources have said that they want the base fare to be Rs 100 and for the next kilometer Rs 20-25. The current fare is between Rs 30-35 as base fare and Rs 6-7 for the following mileage as a minimum. However, there is no control over this and the rates go up and down arbitrarily.

“There is a need to raise tariffs. We are in contact with the aggregation companies and are discussing these matters with them,” said Anand Kute, Organizing Secretary, MRRKS.

The letter also mentions ‘creeping price undercutting by aggregation companies to the tune of Rs 5 per kilometer offered to drivers’. This affects taxis and the taxi industry and endangers the lives of taxi owners and drivers as they are indebted to banks and NBFCs due to loans which drive them to commit suicide”.

The unions also claim that the two aggregator companies would generate false bookings and that there is no grievance system for them. In addition, taxis rented by aggregator companies to drivers have been confiscated and the drivers are left stranded; indicates the letter written by MRRKS.

Another Maharashtra union Navnirman Vahatuk Sena staged a protest with aggregator taxi drivers on March 22. In a letter written to aggregator companies; they too have demanded higher fares despite the fact that the drivers drive 12 to 14 hours a day; they don’t make enough money because of the low rates. Another Maharashtra App Based Transport Workers Union had also staged a protest earlier this month outside the Naka Tolls.

The Khatua committee had recommended a ceiling fare for three categories of aggregator taxis: regular, midsize and premium, at ₹26, ₹32 and ₹38 per km, respectively. The base fare for the three categories was set between ₹14 and ₹16 per km. However, according to RTO officials, the state government has yet to approve them and regulate the tariffs.

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Posted: Wednesday March 24th 2021, 00:23 IST