Mangaluru ,Oct 25, 2015 : It is alleged that many taxi drivers who had enthusiastically attached their vehicles to Ola, a mobile app transport, in Mangaluru in March, have alleged they are suffering huge losses after the company changed the scheme.
The drivers, under the banner of the DK - Dakshina Kannada District Online Taxi Drivers and Owners’ Association held a protest demonstration outside the Ola office on Oct 24, Saturday; they later held talks with the company representatives.
It is said the talks were not fruitful and the drivers continued to remain out, said B.K. Imtiyaz, president of the association. He told media that poor drivers were “lured” with the offer of Rs. 32,000 a month for hatchback and Rs. 36,000 a month for sedan on clocking minimum 3,000 km when Ola started operations in March. The company had also helped drivers take bank loans to buy vehicles by promising that the vehicles would be attached to Ola for at least three years.
However, recently, the company changed its scheme to trip-based payment by which the earnings of drivers considerably reduced. With minimum fare of Rs. 49 for first 2 km and Rs. 10 for subsequent kms, the drivers were unable to earn even Rs. 700 a day. A driver, said the company has now offered Rs. 7,000 for 40 trips a week, which was not attractive as it was difficult to get 40 trips every week.
Ola claimed that the new rates are more than reasonable. Stating that Rs. 32,000 and Rs. 36,000 a month rates were temporary one to stabilise the operations, Ola Mangaluru Manager Suraj Karkera said that the company changed the scheme after ensuring adequate trips for drivers. On demand by drivers, the company had changed the minimum tariff to Rs. 99 from Rs. 49; but this resulted in decreased bookings.
When the minimum fare was Rs. 49, an average 6,000 trips were booked per week. The trips were enough to provide 40 average trips to every driver offering Rs. 7,000 a week when 150 vehicles were attached to Ola, he said. Karkera charged the union with misleading drivers and said that the drivers were individually prepared to accept the new scheme. He said the company too had to survive while protecting the interest of drivers and users.