Ola, Uber protest turns ugly as passengers asked to get off cabs, stones pelted

Damaged: Agitators pelted stones at Uber office in HSR Layout in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Sampath Kumar G.P.

Damaged: Agitators pelted stones at Uber office in HSR Layout in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Sampath Kumar G.P.   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.


The ongoing protest by cab drivers attached to taxi aggregators Uber and Ola took an ugly turn on Wednesday after the Uber office at HSR Layout was pelted with stones by a few protesters who also ransacked the office.

Stones were hurled at moving taxis in different parts of the city and roads were blocked in places such as Peenya, Jalahalli, Majestic, and in front of railway stations and bus terminals. Drivers also became the target of mobs in some parts of the city.

Commuters bore the brunt with many of them stranded and forced to look for alternative modes of transport. Several passengers were reported to have been forced to end their trip and alight before they reached their destination.

“It has become a trend now for them to go on strike randomly. It is very inconvenient and Ola and Uber both have become expensive. I plan to take autorickshaws from now on,” said Anvita Kamble, a commuter.

In Sampigehalli, a few agitators forced passengers out of a car and attacked the driver. Saifuddin, an Ola driver hailing from RT Nagar, was stopped at Indira Gandhi Circle in JP Nagar Phase I by other drivers. He was forced to ask the passenger to get off his cab. He was found pleading with the protesters and asking them how he could support his family if such protests happened every day.

At 27th Cross Road, HSR Layout, there was chaos as Ola and Uber cars were stopped. “They made me cancel my third trip and leave the passenger there and go home,” said Syed Altaf, a driver, who has been driving cabs for the past seven months.

However, Tanveer Pasha, a coordinator for Ola-TaxiForSure-Uber (OTU) Drivers’ and Owners’ Union said, “Operators like Ola promised to come up with a solution by Wednesday ... but they did not. Besides, when drivers went to discuss with Uber officials in HSR Layout, they gave an arrogant response.”

Enraged protesters threw stones at the Uber office around 1 p.m. Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. “We have booked a case of rioting and we are searching for those who pelted stones,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, South East, M.B. Boralingaiah.

“We have got reports of violence and we advised the protesters to give roses and chocolates to convince drivers to join the protest,” claimed Mr. Pasha.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Uber said, “We’re sorry that our service has been disrupted in Bengaluru. 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 behaviour.”

There are over one lakh drivers attached to taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber. Since December, the taxi drivers and aggregators have been up in arms against each other over various issues from incentives to fares. Getting service providers to adopt government-fixed fares and scrapping 30% commission per ride are among the demands.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:24:12 PM |

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