Akriti Bhatia, the co-founder of Jan Ki Baat, spoke to the CEO and Founder of KarmaCircles, Deepak Goel, who enlightened the viewers of the current Ola-Uber drivers strike in the city. A frequent Uber-traveller, Mr Goel said he uses Uber atleast twice a day. The last few days have been challenging for him as he has had to go back using either the Metro or to the old hassled-up interactions with the autowallahs. Mr Goel then threw light on the cause of the protest: the drivers, when they were recruited, were promised 1.5 lakhs per month, which was a stark contrast with the 10-12 thousand they were used to. The employers hypothesis is whats fundamentally problematic: instead of focusing on value creation and building a reasonably sustainable model, they appealed to both the drivers and the customers with attractive prices. Instead of slowly and steadily increasing cab fares to meet their promises, Ola and Uber hopes that customers would prefer to retain their services with them due to attractive fare offers. This business model is based on customers dependence and the drivers must understand that. The issue can be resolved if the customer is willing to pay a bit more and the drivers are comfortable with settling for less pay; instead of 1.5 lakhs, make and meet a target of 70-80 thousands and increase the fare to 10-12 rupees per km. To create and sustain a good model and avoid these faulty pricing one, companies would need to revise their prices and see how many drivers would be needed; it would also have to create layoff packages for some.
Many of Uber and Ola cab companies drivers are on strike since February 10th in Delhi-NCR region, demanding an increase in fares: from the existing 6 to 15 rupees per km. It also wants the 25% commission charged by app-based aggregators, on every booking, to be scrapped off. The protest is led by Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delh. Cabs were available after a few days, but the fares continue to be higher than the normal rates.
Mr Goel is correct when he says that a solution will only be realized one these oweners go back to their fundamentals and re-do their mathematics. If price has to increase, it has to do so gradually, over a period; instantaneous increase to satisfy the drivers demands would be mean loss of revenue as well as client-base.