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Taxi drivers go on strike in Hanoi as incomes plunge due to Uber, Grab

By Anh Tu   November 27, 2017 | 08:18 pm PT
Taxi drivers go on strike in Hanoi as incomes plunge due to Uber, Grab
Taxi drivers at Ba Sao Taxi Company go on strike in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by VnExpress
The drivers say their pay has dropped by half while their boss thinks he might have to sell the struggling business.

Hundreds of taxi drivers switched off their engines in Hanoi on Monday and demanded talks with their company leaders over falling incomes due to fierce competition from ride-hailing apps.

The drivers at Ba Sao Taxi Company, a common name in Hanoi, said their employers need to find a way to support them, such as securing more pick-up locations so they can spend less time just driving around looking for customers.

In a petition, the drivers said their income has gone down by half to VND500,000 ($22) at most for a 12-hour shift and VND800,000 ($35) for a 24-hour stint, before gasoline.

Vu Quoc Huy, director of the company, said Uber and Grab are not restricted to the number of cars or routes they can operate in the way traditional taxi firms are.

Huy said all traditional taxi firms are struggling to survive the competition.

“We are having a very hard time," he said. "We might have to sell the business.” 

Ba Sao Taxi Company started operation in 2004. It is not the first taxi company to blame sliding business on Grab and Uber, which arrived in 2014 and operate both car and motorbike taxi services.

Major taxi firms Vinasun and Mai Linh have repeatedly reported losses, falling incomes and drivers simply quitting, blaming them all on the ride-hailing services.

Last month, reports from the trade and transport ministries also said that Grab and Uber are benefiting from unfair competition in Vietnam. The reports said they are not subject to the same taxes and operational regulations as transport companies.

As the blame game rolls on, the taxi companies have also taken action to battle their high-tech rivals. Vinasun has rolled out a hailing service via Facebook Messenger, while Mai Linh has launched an app-based motorbike taxi service.

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