Pune Drivers Postpone Protest, Demand Action From Uber, Ola Over Unresolved Fare Issue

The drivers seek clarity on implementing revised fare policies.

by Mallika Khurana
Pune Drivers Postpone Protest, Demand Action From Uber, Ola Over Unresolved Fare Issue

As cab drivers prepared for a protest on February 20, the streets of Pune were alive with excitement. They were upset that Uber and Ola had not taken any action regarding the revised taxi fares. But just as things were about to get out of hand, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) intervened and gave the aggregator giants a seven-day notice to show cause. Consequentially, cab drivers have opted to postpone their planned protest set for February 20th against ride-sharing giants.

Pune Cab Drivers Tap Brakes On Protest Amid RTO Ultimatum

Pune driver
Photo Credits: Canva

The drivers had initially escalated their concerns to the Transport Commissioner’s Office, protesting Uber and Ola’s failure to implement the revised taxi fare approved by the Pune RTO back in January. Responding to the drivers’ grievances, the Pune RTO issued the show-cause notice effective February 17th.

The notice was delivered to the Mumbai Transport Commissioner and RTO, outlining the five demands made by the drivers. The RTO has responded by requiring the aggregator companies to provide a written explanation within the allotted seven days. According to the Indian Express, under the Motor Vehicle Act and the Central Aggregator Guidelines 2020, noncompliance may necessitate taking necessary action.

Transport Commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar clarified Pune’s aggregator policy confusion by blaming it on the lack of a state-level policy. He pointed out that, depending on what is more convenient, the Pune RTO still has the power to apply the central policy or the Khatua Committee’s recommendations.

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Authorities Issue Ultimatum To Uber And Ola

Photo Credits: Canva

On the other hand, an RTO official emphasised that following the central guidelines is crucial when there is no state policy in place. The representative emphasised the advantages of the central policy, which include dynamic pricing management algorithms. On February 21, there will be a meeting with the District Collector, after which a decision might be made, as per the Indian Express reports.

Although drivers expressed their willingness to follow the Khatua Committee’s recommendations, they expressed concerns about the authorities’ lack of clarity. The president of the Indian Gig Workers Front (IGF), Keshav Kshirsagar, questioned the policies’ selective application. He also called for the addition of several beneficiary provisions—like social security and health insurance—that are listed in the central guidelines.

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Cab companies are free to charge 50% less or 150% more than the standard fare, following the central guidelines. The guidelines also cover provisions related to helpline call centres, training, and health security. Drivers contend that the fare structure that businesses currently use does not benefit them. They are advocating for the implementation of more advantageous regulations.

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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