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Ola and Uber services disrupted in Bangalore due to protesting drivers

Ola and Uber driver protests have intensified over the week leading to a substantial disruption of services in Bangalore. Ola confirmed that its services were disrupted in the Bangalore city in a blog post and added that it’s “working hard to resolve the situation at the earliest and to restore normalcy”. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Uber confirmed with MediaNama that it faced disruptions in its services.

MediaNama asked both Ola and Uber whether they had interacted with drivers, and whether there are any steps taken to ensure normalcy. Ola is yet to reply to our questionnaire, while Uber put out the following statement to our query:

“We’re sorry that our service has been disrupted in Bangalore. We’re aware of isolated reports of threats and intimidation from a small group of people. We again call on the authorities to put an end to this illegal behavior. We are committed to ensuring that drivers who wish to work are able to do so, and riders can get from A to B conveniently, reliably and safely,” Uber said in a statement.

We tried ordering an Uber via the app in Koramangala, but there were hardly any cabs available:

Ola’s Prime and Micro category were affected when we last tried to order a cab in Koramangala. However, Ola’s autorickshaw services remained normal.

Offices vandalized

A report from The Hindu pointed that drivers pelted stones at Uber’s office in HSR Layout, while some even vandalized the premises. Stones were also pelted against moving cabs in locations like Peenya, Jalahalli, and Majestic, according to the report. A few protesters had even forced passengers out of the cab, forcing them to cancel their rides halfway. The local police have booked a case against the protesting drivers who pelted stones, the report added. A PTI report yesterday claimed that over 1 lakh drivers from Ola and Uber went on strike.

This isn’t the first instance of drivers going on strike. Last month, several driver’s unions warned that they would continue to go on strike in Bangalore if the companies don’t meet their demands. Drivers protested the fact that the cab aggregators take a commission of 30% instead of the mandated 10%. Drivers also demanded a better fare structure, especially for airport taxis, relaxed target hours to get incentives. Protests broke out last month after the cab aggregators fixed a flat rate for airport rides which resulted in a loss of earnings for drivers. Ola and Uber set up dedicated parking zones in Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport.

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Uber hikes prices

The protests come at a time when Uber has been raising fares for rides in cities including Delhi and Mumbai. In Mumbai, Uber hiked its ‘ride time fare’ by 50 paise per minute on uberGO and uberX rides, and also increased base fare for uberX by Rs 5 per km. It had earlier hiked fares in Delhi to Rs 1.5 per minute on all of its rides, bringing up fares by about 10-15% in the city. The company also changed the pricing in Pune to Rs 15 per kms after the first 15 kms.

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