Bengaluru’s taxi services hit after cab driver dies by suicide

By Rabia Shireen

Cab services at the Bengaluru international airport have been gravely affected on Wednesday due to protests after a cab driver allegedly died by suicide early today.

The Bengaluru International Airport Limited issued an advisory in a tweet, asking passengers to use the state-run bus service or make their travel arrangements as all Uber, Ola, and state government cab drivers halted services.

The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon, when Pratap, a 35-year-old cab driver parked his car in the middle of the road and set himself on fire using petrol, according to The New Indian Express. Other drivers on the spot immediately rushed to rescue him. They took him out after breaking open the windshield and took him to the Victoria Hospital.

Doctors said that he suffered 70% injuries in the incident, and he died around 1.45 am, Bengaluru-Northeast Division, senior police officer CK Baba told.

The driver from Ramanagara allegedly took his life to mark his protest against the government’s lack of assistance for drivers like him caused due to the rise in fuel prices and the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Tanveer Pasha, President of Ola Uber Drivers and Owners’ Association who participated in Wednesday’s protest, condemned Pratap’s death. He highlighted that private online cab services are offering trips at discounted prices.

“While cab aggregators are running trips at discounted prices, drivers attached to other players, like KSTDC, are hit hard,” Pasha told The New Indian Express. “Ola and Uber get a major share of the trips, but even their drivers are facing huge losses because of highly discounted fares.”

After the incident, drivers gathered in front of Bengaluru airport to protest against private online cab aggregators’ discounted fares. The association demanded the government should introduce a uniform fare for all taxis.

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