With a daylong rickshaw strike promising to inconvenience commuters greatly, Mumbaikars refused to succumb to the pressure tactics applied by the striking auto union. Instead, commuters opted for other means of transportation. While most decided to commute via public transport — buses and trains, others arranged for private vehicles.
BEST put to test
“Transport strikes have become common and are losing their meaning. I usually take a rickshaw to work, but today I travelled by bus,” said Ranjeev Seth, a commuter on a Sion-bound BEST bus from Juhu. He added, “The funny thing is that absence of autos actually makes roads a lot better for other vehicles. I reached work in half the time it takes to reach by an auto.” A BEST bus conductor, who wished to be named as Shinde, said, “Anticipating the strike, we increased the number of buses plying on the busiest routes. Hopefully, people will be able to go about their work as usual.”
Having to accommodate double the number of passengers throughout the day, BEST services that were put to test, passed with flying colours.Cabbies on the other hand had a field day. Several taxi drivers decided to ferry commuters wanting to travel to same areas together. Near Sion Station, some of the taxi drivers were operating on sharing basis, charging commuters a fixed rate. Justifying their charges, a taxi driver said, “When we ply commuters in groups of 3 to 4, it works out in the interest of the passengers, as they pay only a fraction of the total fare.”
Arup Nayak, an office-goer said, “Fixed charges are reasonable when you’re travelling in a group. But what if you’re alone? I had been waiting for over an hour to find a taxi that operates by meter and not by the driver’s whim.”