| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Feb 13 A strike in the Indian capital
by thousands of Uber and Ola drivers demanding better
pay has paralysed the ride-hailing services that have grabbed
business from traditional taxi and rickshaw operators with their
Commuters faced delays for a fourth day even as the
city-state's government laid on extra buses to help them get to
work, after drivers stopped taking bookings via the smartphone
apps that connect them to nearby passengers. Some drivers
reverted to only taking passengers from taxi stands or off the
It was the first big confrontation between the trade unions
representing taxi drivers in the Delhi region of 25 million
people and the two ride-hailing players, which have been ramping
up services in India's $12 billion taxi market.
Strike leaders said they were demanding an increase in
incentives, provision of adequate insurance policies and shorter
"These companies are cheating us. They do not pay us on time
and expect us to work like slaves," said Jatindra Singh, a
senior member of the New Delhi Taxi Union. Singh said 35 unions
representing nearly 4,000 drivers were backing the strike.
Both Uber and Ola faced disruptions, with their apps showing
'No Cars Available' when attempts were made to book a ride near
Connaught Place, in Delhi's city centre, around midday on
"We're sorry that our service has been disrupted and for any
inconvenience this has caused," an Uber spokesperson said in a
"Serving riders, drivers and cities is core to our mission
and we are working hard to ensure that drivers are able to get
back behind the wheel and riders can get from A to B
conveniently, reliably and safely."
Ola did not respond to requests for comment.
San Francisco-based Uber has focused on India as its most
promising market outside the United States since it merged its
Chinese operation into market leader Didi last year. It operates
in 28 Indian cities and has 200,000 active drivers.
Homegrown rival Ola calls itself India's most popular mobile
app for transportation. It is present in 102 cities and offers
rides in 450,000 vehicles.
The ride-hailing players face resistance from traditional,
unionised taxi services and three-wheeler auto rickshaws, whose
standard fares they are undercutting. Both taxi drivers and
private "driver partners" often use both platforms to solicit
Delhi's Transport Minister Satyendar Jain ordered an
increase in the frequency of bus services to help commuters get
to work, and planned to meet the striking drivers on Tuesday in
a bid to end the dispute.
"I am going to hear all the sides and then we will set new
rules soon," he told Reuters.
(Reporting by Rupam Jain and Douglas Busvine; Editing by