Uber Drivers Across India Are Switching Off ACs To Object Low Pay

by Suchismita Pal
Uber Drivers Across India Are Switching Off ACs To Object Low Pay

Uber drivers in some cities refrain from turning on ACs citing various reasons. Post COVID-19 pandemic,  I have switched a couple of times between Delhi and Kolkata. One a sultry, humid afternoon in Kolkata, I got into an Uber cab and asked the driver to switch on the AC. The driver replied that Uber is not allowing them to switch on ACs as it might lead to the spreading of the virus. The same thing happened every time I booked an uber in Kolkata. I gradually learned that drivers in Kolkata never switch on their ACs. I came to know from a few people that Uber has not imposed any such rule to turn off the AC. Moreover, the same wasn’t happening in Delhi.

People coming to Kolkata from other cities started complaining of cabs charging higher fares and on top of that, not even turning on the ACs. But now this is happening in some cabs in Delhi too. And here’s the main reason.

Uber Drivers Carry Out ‘No Air Conditioning Campaign’ In Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata And Bangalore

 Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers ((IFAT) launched the ‘no air-conditioning campaign’ a month ago to protest against low pay for app-based cab services like Ola and Uber, as reported by Adnan Bhatt of Rest of World. The spike in fuel prices in India propelled this move by the trade union. The campaign had started in Hyderabad and has now reached other major cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore too. 

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The Drivers Demand Fixing Of Base Fares

Summer is already here and temperatures have started rising. Thus, travelling in a cab without the air-conditioning on can get uncomfortable, especially during the day times. Despite the scorching heat, the drivers are taking part in the campaign as they demand the fixing of base fares for these app-based cab services. Until then, they will carry on with the protest.

Picture Credits: Pixabay

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In March 2022, the West Bengal government had issued the base fare for app-based services at ₹36.5. The notification stated that the price cannot be increased by more than 50% for AC taxis. Thus, the highest base fare can be ₹56.25. The government had taken the decision after getting complaints about excessively high cab fares in certain circumstances like heavy rains and festivals.