‘Ban Ola, Uber and other app-based services’: Motorists protest in Chennai

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The unions demanded that the state government ban all private apps and launch an “automatic app” with a 15% take-out commission.

Rickshaw drivers’ unions in Tamil Nadu staged a protest outside Rajarathinam Stadium, Egmore in Chennai on Monday, April 18, demanding a charter of demands that includes a ban on Ola, Uber and Rapido app-based services. Members of the Labor Progressive Front (LPF), Indian Trade Union Center (CITU), Indian Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) also actively participated in the protest.

Drivers claimed that auto aggregators take 30% commission per ride, leaving drivers with a much lower amount (minimum charge of Rs 25 per km). The drivers’ unions demanded that the state government ban all private apps and launch a “car app” with a 15% take-out commission. “It will be a win-win situation for the state and the drivers. In addition to this, a government-run app can ensure the safety of passengers, especially women and children,” the unions asserted.

The Tamil Nadu state government had set a minimum tariff of Rs 25 for the first 1.8 kilometers and Rs 12 for the following kilometers in 2013. Even though petrol prices have increased by Rs 30 per liter , from Rs 77 in 2013 to Rs 110 per liter currently, the price remains the same.

S Balasubramaniam, coordinator of the rickshaw drivers’ union and head of the car division, CITU, pointed out that the protest was carried out as the minimum car fare remained unchanged despite rising fuel prices. “It has been nine years since the state government revised meter tariffs. Considering the pandemic, inflation and rising fuel prices, the government should revise the tariff as soon as possible,” he said.

“In 2016, the Madras High Court ordered the state government to revise meter tariffs, but the state failed to take necessary action,” he added.

The protesters also called on the state government not to implement the provisions of the new Motor Vehicle Act 2019.

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