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Cab hailing app Uber told MediaNama that less than 0.5% of its driver base in Hyderabad ‘expressed some concerns regarding temporary incentives’, after ET published a report stating that its Hyderabad drivers accused the company of being dishonorable with regards to its incentive promises. Uber said that its teams were working to address the drivers’ concerns.

Uber told MediaNama that:

  • Over 99% of driver partners on the Uber platform are thriving as a new breed of entrepreneurs. They are very happy being able to take advantage of Uber’s pioneering lead generation technology, that provides unprecedented flexibility, earning potential and the ability to be their own bosses.

  • Less than 0.5% of our base of driver partners in Hyderabad today expressed some concerns regarding temporary incentives. Our teams are working with driver partners on an individual basis to help address any concerns. It is extremely heartening to see our driver partner community rapidly growing as a result of the overwhelming positive sentiment towards Uber which each of them is actively helping advocate to their own network of family and friends.

Allegedly, according to the ET report, the per ride incentive had been reduced from Rs 225 to Rs 150 in Hyderabad. A Uber driver also said that Uber had been charging Rs 300 as device charges per week, which were deducted from the driver’s account, whether or not they logged in to the service. This was other than the 20% commission the company charged per ride.

Telangana Cabs and Bus Operators’ Association (TCBOA) president Syed Nizamuddin alleged that Uber lured cab drivers under the promise of a monthly income of around Rs 70,000, but the drivers were not able to earn more than Rs 15,000 because the number of trips had reduced and Uber had slashed incentives.

MediaNama’s take:
As companies keep changing their strategies, incentives will come down or go up, depending on the viability of incentives and business decisions. The decision of who to work with ultimately rests with the driver, as currently, there is no dearth of online cab aggregating companies. The protest, driven by reduction in incentives, also does not make sense because there was no protest when (and if) the incentives were/had been increased. The decision is Uber’s call, depending on its own business plans and strategies.

Uber’s Mumbai and Pune cars reportedly damaged
Less than two weeks ago, Uber had a run in with local groups in Mumbai, who, after allegedly damaging Uber’s cars were demanding that public service vehicle badges only be given to Maharashtra domiciles and people who could read and write in Marathi. At that time, Uber had said that thousands of drivers were being forced to stay off the roads, adding that the proposed fare restriction would lead to artificially created fares, decreased availability of its cars, decreased jobs and earnings for drivers and reduced transport options in Mumbai suburbs and neighbourhoods where taxis did not ply.

Earlier in July, Uber said that it would invest $1 billion in India in the next six to nine months, primarily for improving its operators, expanding to other cities, developing new products and payment solutions and to set up a better support network. In May, it started testing cash payments in Hyderabad in a bid to catch up with rivals Ola and TaxiForSure, in hopes that it could better understand customer behaviour and usage patterns.

Also read:

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Our Uber coverage here.

Image Credit: Flickr user Julien Gong Min