Auto strike leaves flyers stranded

The second day of the auto rickshaw strike spelled trouble for commuters scheduled to fly out of the city.

Several people were forced to miss their flights yesterday owing to the rickshaw strike that left the suburbs almost crippled.

Also, commuters alleged that rickshaw drivers were cashing in on the situation by charging three or four times the original fare.

left in the lurch: Several passengers had to make alternate provisions
to travel to the airport owing to the rickshaw strike. pic/rane Ashish

Vipul Prakash, a Powai resident, missed his flight for Bangalore yesterday owing to the non-availability of rickshaws. "There were no rickshaws outside my home yesterday. When I finally managed to persuade a driver to ferry me to the airport, he demanded Rs 100 more than the original fare. After much haggling and deliberation, I finally agreed to pay him the extra money but he backed out citing some union-related problems.

Thanks to all of it, I missed my flight and wasted Rs 2,000 in getting a new ticket."

45-year-old Mihir Mahajan too missed his flight to Delhi yesterday, as he failed to reach the airport on time.

Similarly, other residents too grumbled about the drivers demanding additional money to be ferried to the airport.

"The drivers at the airport are charging at will. They are not ready to travel by the metre and are demanding more money," said T D'souza, a Malad resident.

When MiD DAY approached Maharashtra's Transport Commissioner, VN More called the strike illegal and immoral.
"First of all I don't consider this to be a strike as no notice was served. This is simply retaliation by the drivers who were fined for having tampered metres.  I have met representatives of different unions who maintained that they are operating and are not part of the so-called strike. I again want to maintain that if any rickshaw driver refuses to ply or charges extra fare, he will be penalised. I urge people to register such cases with our helpline numbers."

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