After taxi operators, online app cab operators in the city have now threatened to go off roads if their demand of higher percentage of profits was not allowed by the next 15 days.
The operators of online app cabs and luxury taxis today submitted a deputation to the principal secretary of the state Transport Department demanding the state government’s intervention in resolving their problems of financial crisis.
There are around 3500 online app cabs operating in different parts of the city at present. The number is about 40 percent of the total strength of the app cabs under West Bengal Cab Operators’ Guild. According to the operators under the Joint Forum of Cab Operators, which is a unified body of four organisations, the share of profits provided by the two major aggregators is insufficient to meet the daily needs of the coronavirus hit partner drivers.
While the cab companies are charging rupees 18 to 26 from the commuters depending upon the demand and supply which is fully controlled by the aggregators, the drivers are given rupees 11 to 12 on an average. The amount, as claimed by the partner drivers is lesser to that of the yellow taxi drivers who get rupees 15 per kilometre.
Notably, last month, a 26- year-old online app cab driver named Gopal Halder committed suicide after being able to cope up with the financial constraints that he had been facing following the lockdown and the outbreak of the pandemic. While two app cab drivers have been found Covid-19 positive so far. Considering the situation, the online app cab operators are dissatisfied and are demanding immediate intervention of the state authorities.
“We have submitted our demand of government’s intervention for better share of profits from the two aggregators to the State Transport Department today,” said Indranil Banerjee, general secretary of the guild. “We will wait for 15 days. If no resolution is brought out by then, we will have no options than to withdraw our services after that,” he added.