Owing to intense pressure from the taxi and auto-rickshaw unions, the Maharashtra government is weighing other options to make sure that the app-based cab aggregators Ola and Uber’s business strategies do not affect the state transport drivers.
Sources are also of the opinion that if the state fails to come up with any such initiative, they may soon impose restrictions on the way app-based taxi aggregators operates in the city.
A government official said, “There are 1lakh auto-rickshaw drivers in the city and about 30,000 taxi drivers, so if each driver has a family of three, then the number comes to around 5 lakh people. So you are antagonising five lakh voters during the civic elections in Mumbai and Thane.”
The BJP government has so far been successful in keeping the unions conflict at bay but they would surely not tease the delicate political thread of `offending’ such a large number of taxi and autorickshaw drivers.
One of the unions has even called off a strike that was to start on Tuesday on the basis of government’s assurances. A member of the union stated that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured them that the government would bring in a new regulation for app-based aggregators in a week’s time.
The government official has, however, clarified that the state is still weighing other ideas to make sure that taxi and auto unions don’t have a ground to complain. “We are working on a plan where taxi and autos also operate like Uber and Ola with flexible fare structures,” he explained.