Today, a clutch of cabbies in the city plan to protest the government’s indifference to their demand of taxi stands in a novel way. They plan to turn beggars for a day, holding out begging bowls for the public to shell out some money, in order that they can start making stands of their own.
The gesture is, by and large, symbolic, but the message is clear: We are desperate to get taxi stands and if we don’t, we would hold large-scale protests to press our point.
In an age which is all about grabbing eyeballs, protests have become deceptively creative. The age-old dharna and strike are passé. Today, workers are looking at ways to tweak their demonstration enough in an effort to make the maximum impact in the minimum time.
While taxi stands may alleviate the problems that waiting cabbies cause in the city, like traffic snarls, especially on crowded roads near railway stations, granting these should come with a few conditions and clauses.
The government must get an assurance from cabbies that once given a stand, they would stick to their different stands in the city and maintain discipline while waiting. Often, we see that despite having stands, autos and cabbies stand away from the designated waiting area, adding to the general traffic and congestion on our roads.
Most importantly, cabbies should be made to ply if they get taxi stands. No more refusing passengers on some or the other pretext.
In the case of auto rickshaws, even while at stands, they refuse to ferry passengers, often directing them to other, passing rickshaws
There must be police to monitor cabs at the stands, with stiff penalties for those who refuse fare.