Friday, December 16, 2016

Protest against Ride Sharing Apps by Taxi Drivers

Author Bio: Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Dectar, best PHP scripts development company located in India. Dectar is a part of Casperon Technologies is a leading social and mobile development company which has launched a Taxi Dispatch Software called Cabily . I’m a Tech geek, Digital marketing expert, Entrepreneur, and Atheist who loves to write everything about PHP Scripts and mobile application development. 
Ride sharing Apps are the latest phenomenon that is ruling the roost worldwide. They have created a revolution in the cab industry with their unique and dynamic approach.

The advent of ride sharing apps has made riding easier, cheaper and naturally people are fascinated by it. Most of the users have started to use these apps and have slowly made a transition from using conventional taxis.  But with any new creation or invention, there is always a flip side to it and this app is no exception. A section of people is affected by the emergence of this app and they are none other than, the taxi drivers. 

Is Traditional taxi Business losing its sheen?
 The overwhelming response to this ride sharing apps from the public is the main reason for these protests. People find these apps more reliable and cheaper than the traditional means that they were used to. So a large number of passengers have started to use these apps as they no longer need to pay more. 

This has made the traditional taxi businesses to be unbeneficial and taxi drivers view this as a threat to their future. It has also affected the families of these drivers as there is a substantial loss of their income since the arrival of these apps. This situation has led to belligerent protests in different parts of the World.

Taxi Drivers call for a Level Playing Field
When asked about the reason for their protests, the taxi drivers urge the need to have a level playing field. They are prepared for a healthy competition, but at the same time annoyed as these ride sharing apps are allowed to operate, although they are illegal. 

In some places, apps like Uber are shielded by the government and they indirectly support them by providing illegal tax exemptions. This action by the Government has provoked the taxi drivers to a great extent and has served as a catalyst to the protests across the world.

Protests in Melbourne
One such protest took place in Melbourne where Taxi drivers protested in an unusual manner. They covered their mouths with duct tape and blocked the roads with their cars. Incessant honking of horns went on outside Daniel Andrews’ office as the drivers felt that he could have acted swiftly in this matter. They did this as a symbolic protest.  Some drivers in the gathering, warned that the situation could turn violent if the problems facing them persisted. 

What could be the Remedy?
There is a need to set up a regulated framework that would put the Taxis and these new apps on the same level playing field. Senior journalist Jean Edwards blamed the government and explained how some drivers had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars within a year.

According to him, Government must act as an intermediate body and try to pacify the situation instead of remaining a mute spectator on this issue. He also added that the government must not deregulate the taxi industry by introducing a uniform registration like Uber. This could cool down the nerves of these drivers temporarily.

Dissent in Jakarta, Indonesia
Similar outrage occurred in Jakarta as a large number of drivers came to the roads with their cars and left the entire City in a flummoxed state. Important zones in the city were obstructed by the drivers as a mark of showing their dissent.

There was little support for them either from the government or from the Public. Having said that the taxi drivers’ council is also not ready to go down without fighting for what they want. This is not the first protest that is taking place here. Already a couple of protests have taken place which demonstrated their anger.

Public’s Point of View
Some of the people came out in support of Uber and called these protests to be terrible and rude. A group of people blamed the taxi drivers for creating disorder in the city by occupying the roads. Jakarta is a congested town which is densely populated and this protest didn’t go down well with most of the people in the city. One can only pity the plight of taxi drivers as it has turned out to create a negative impact on the minds of people.

Uber’s take
Uber has strongly denied the allegations against them and say that they function in a legal manner. They also refute the claim that they have stolen the jobs of taxi drivers and argue that there is no proof backing that notion.

When some of the officials of Uber were confronted by a group of reporters, they made their stance clear.  According to them, the vision of Uber is to provide employment opportunities to drivers who are struggling. Moreover, they insist on providing flexible hours of operation to entrepreneurs.

Growing Protests in different parts
Protests have already taken place in various parts of the world. There have been protests in Berlin, Wellington, Taiwan, Singapore, Melbourne, Lisbon and Mangaluru. Taxi Drivers in one voice believe that the complete injustice done to them is the reason behind this reaction. Irrespective of the geographical location the same emotion is replicated by taxi drivers all around the world. They believe it is high time for their leaders in power to act and sort out the issues.

View of Journalists and Government Officials
Some of the journalists in these countries believe that the flexible approach of Government towards these ride sharing apps for their benefits is the prime reason for this chaos.

One of the senior journalists from CNN feels that these ride sharing apps should be scrutinized much more. He also insists that same set of rules must be in place for all drivers. He has even called for a temporary ban on them in some areas where the traditional taxi industry is suffering.

He emphasizes the need to formulate a policy that is beneficial to everyone, and once that is in place the government can lift the ban on these ride sharing apps. But some of the officials in the government are of the opinion that it is impossible to control and monitor Uber as it operates primarily over the internet.

 Uber uses aggressive tactics such as bullying on journalists who oppose them. And this statement turns out to be true as Uber adopted the same kind of approach to a Commissioner in Virginia who opposed them. It shared his contact information to all its users in the state which is absolutely unethical.

In India, Uber Cabs was banned in some cities by the government. Nevertheless, those bans were lifted after that issue went the Court. Still there are a lot of cases against the ride sharing apps pending in the court waiting to be heard. The fate of these apps hangs in the balance.

There seem to be opinions valid on both ends of the spectrum. But the emotional outburst of the taxi drivers must not be overlooked and a revised policy has to be brought into place to counter this issue. The situation of taxi drivers, the economic state and the Public interest must be taken into account before any changes are brought in. Only then this chaotic situation will come to an end.

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