Thousands of taxis from hailing services Uber and Ola stopped on the streets in Bengaluru on Monday during a wider transport strike, which affected passengers including school children and office workers in India’s Silicon Valley city.
This strike was carried out in protest against a state government program that allows free transportation for women on non-premium public buses. Private airlines say the program has hurt their livelihoods.
Spokespeople for Uber and Ola have asked for more time to assess the impact of the strike and explain the exact number of taxis out of service in the city, which is notorious for its traffic jams. Bengaluru is one of the key markets for taxi aggregators in India.
The strike has forced some companies, such as Northern Trust, to let employees work from home, while others, such as Nokia, are urging staff to find alternative means of transport.
“Our employee taxi services will also be disrupted during this strike and taxis will not be available for our regular pick-up and drop-off services. We ask all taxi/corporate transport users to arrange their own travel to the office on Saturday. September 11, 2023,” Nokia said in an internal memo seen by Reuters.
“I looked for a taxi and a car for almost two hours, starting at 8am. There are no cars available and no one accepts them, not even the Rapido,” he told Reuters Eldho Basil John, who works at software company Neutrinos. “I have to take my roommate’s bike to get to the office.”
The state-owned Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation has added 4,000 more bus routes in a bid to help stranded passengers, it said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. (Reporting by VarunVyas Hebbalalu and Navamya Ganesh Acharya; Additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Writing by DNYA Skariachan and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
“Twitter junkie. Hipster-friendly bacon expert. Beer ninja. Reader. Communicator. Explorer. Passionate alcohol geek.”