‘No AC Campaign’: Why Hyderabad Ola, Uber, Rapido Drivers Have Launched A Protest?

No AC Campaign Ola, Uber Hyderabad

Imagine hailing a cab in the scorching summer heat, only to find the air conditioning turned off. This is the reality facing commuters in Hyderabad, India, due to a unique protest by cab drivers associated with Ola, Uber, and Rapido. They’ve launched a “No AC Campaign,” refusing to operate their air conditioners while demanding a revision of the fare structure from these ride-hailing companies.

This article dives into the reasons behind this campaign, the impact it has on both drivers and commuters, and potential solutions to this brewing conflict.

The Plight of the Driver: Rising Costs and Stagnant Fares

The Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU), representing cab drivers in Hyderabad, is at the forefront of this campaign. They cite declining per-kilometer fares as the main reason behind their decision. According to the union, operational costs, particularly fuel and car maintenance, significantly increase with AC usage.

While the cost of running a cab with AC can reach Rs 16-18 per kilometer, TGPWU claims drivers only earn Rs 10-12 per kilometer after accounting for app-based company commissions. This meager profit margin makes AC operation unsustainable for many drivers.

Feeling the Heat: Passengers Caught in the Middle

Commuters are the unfortunate bystanders in this dispute. The lack of AC in cabs during peak summer months can be extremely uncomfortable and even pose health risks, especially for vulnerable passengers like children or the elderly.

Some reports suggest drivers might propose an optional AC fee for riders who want the comfort of a cool ride. However, this could create a two-tiered system, potentially affecting ridership for drivers who don’t offer AC.

Finding Common Ground: A Solution for All

The “No AC Campaign” highlights the need for a balanced approach that considers both driver earnings and passenger comfort. Here are some potential solutions:

Revision of Fare Structure: Ride-hailing companies could re-evaluate their commission structures or introduce dynamic pricing models that adjust fares based on factors like fuel costs and demand.
Fuel Efficiency Incentives: Companies could incentivize drivers to use fuel-efficient vehicles or provide rebates for car maintenance associated with AC usage.
Transparency and Communication: Improved communication between app-based companies, drivers, and passenger unions can foster a collaborative environment to address concerns and find mutually beneficial solutions.

A Sustainable Ride-Hailing Ecosystem

The “No AC Campaign” is a wake-up call for the ride-hailing industry. It underscores the need for a sustainable ecosystem that ensures fair compensation for drivers while maintaining passenger comfort and affordability. By working together, app-based companies, drivers, and passenger unions can find solutions that benefit all stakeholders and keep Hyderabad’s cabs cool during the summer heat.

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