Auto rickshaws won't ply on Mumbai's roads this Monday

Auto rickshaws will stay off Mumbai's roads to protest hike in permits and delay in City Transport Scheme; black-and-yellow taxis may also join strike

Gear up for a rough start to the week with almost 90 per cent of rickshaws threatening to go on a one-day strike on Monday. Unhappy with the Regional Transport Office’s decision to raise renewal charges for auto and taxi permits, the auto union is set to go on strike. Worse, the taxi unions may also join in.

Commuters jostle to catch a cab. Representation pic
Commuters jostle to catch a rickshaw. Representation pic

The permit charge may be raised from a mere Rs 200 to Rs 15,000. The Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Taximen’s Union, the city’s largest auto rickshaw union, helmed by Shashank Rao, has called for a day-long protest on February 15. “The state government has been sitting on the City Transport Scheme, 2015, for many months. Till the time the draft doesn’t get approved, they should ban Uber and Ola from the roads. To protest these aggregator cab operations, we have called for a strike,” said Rao. The auto union rues that in the last few months, Ola and Uber’s operations have escalated, leading to a dip in their own business.

The Maharsahtra state transport department is coming up with a new city taxi scheme. If the new scheme is finalised, the app-based cabs will have to install a GPS devise in the vehicle. Also, no person can act as an aggregator unless he has registered with the transport department. It also says that the cab drivers will have to wear wear uniform, and the driver will have to give printed bills to every passenger. It has been mentioned in the draft that a private operator can have a maximum fleet of 4,000 cabs. While Rao agreed that auto drivers plying without permits should be taken to task, he demanded that at least one lakh new permits be issued for the unions to be able to challenge Ola and Uber with an increased fleet of autos plying the streets.

We tried to contact AL Quadros, general secretary of the Mumbai Taxi Union, and he didn’t respond.

Voices

Kunal Katdare, student from Andheri
It gets difficult to get through the day without three-wheelers. Commuters are definitely going to be affected since the strike is on the first day of the week

Atish Panday, Mulund Resident
Thanks to car pooling, we have started finding a way around the strikes. Such strikes should be dealt with by state agencies

Anees Shaikh, resident from Juhu
I’ve lost count of the number of times commuters have had to face strikes. The government must provide alternate arrangements

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