Uber drivers in Qatar plan strike to protest new fare policies

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Uber drivers in Qatar are protesting changes in fare structure by the online ride-sharing service provider and are planning to strike from Sunday, reported Doha News website.

This is the second time in a year that Uber drivers in Qatar have struck work in protest against work conditions.

Hundreds drivers took the stand that they “are not slaves,” and said they will shut off the app. This will increase prices for customers as demand for their services outpaces supply.

“We drivers are not at all happy working with Uber, as it is very difficult to manage our expenses with low fare and high cost of living. Every month, fuel prices (are) going up and it (is) directly affecting our daily expenditure budget,” the drivers said in their statement to the website.

The drivers were especially upset at the changes Uber has made which affected their earnings.

In November, Uber launched a service that cut prices by up to 25 percent for pickups in smaller, older cars and at that time drivers working under UberGo had “to make more trips to earn the same money they were making before.”

The new pricing policy called “upfront fares” introduced late January. This service enables customers to gauge an estimated trip fare before they request a ride, helping them to budget better. The fare would change only if drivers are kept waiting.

But drivers argue that this does not take into account heavy traffic or any stops the customer asks them to make en route.

The drivers are also upset that Uber now accepts cash payments, instead of just payment via credit card through its app. There have been instances of customers running away after the ride, or “claiming to ask to get money from an ATM and then never coming back”.

In the case of dishonest customers, Uber does not help and on top “deduct 25 percent commission from our account for this unpaid trip also,” the drivers said.

Uber introduced cash payments to catch up with their local competitor, Careem. But according the aggrieved Uber drivers, Careem “always give money to us for unpaid rides.”

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