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15 Feb 2017

Tom Finn, Reuters (Qatar)

Hundreds of Uber drivers in Qatar go on strike after price cuts

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Hundreds of drivers with ride-hailing service Uber in Qatar went on strike on Monday for the second time in a year to protest against fare cuts. The U.S.-based company, which started operations in Doha in 2014, has in recent months cut fares by 15-20 percent for passengers amid growing competition from local firms. Uber drivers in Doha stayed home on Monday to protest the cuts and an "upfront" service launched by Uber in November that allows passengers to view the total fare before their journey...Uber has tried to drive down taxi fares to win customers from local rivals in Qatar like Careem...Thousands of Ethiopians, Indians and Nepalis work as Uber drivers in wealthy Qatar where unions and labour protests are banned and authorities penalise dissent with jail terms or immediate deportation. Some drivers say they have struggled since an oil slump in mid-2014 that has squeezed state finances and last year saw Doha raise the domestic price of gasoline by 30 percent.