With Mumbai running out of space, for motorists, finding a parking space is like hitting the jackpot. What makes the task daunting for them are the haphazardly parked autorickshaws and taxis, which often leads to ugly traffic jams. Keeping this in mind, the autorickshaw as well as the taxi unions have asked the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) in the city and suburbs to either revive the old parking stands allotted to auto and taxi drivers or provide them with new ones.
If the auto unions are to be believed, then in the last five years, the number of parking stands allotted to autos have come down to one-fourth of their original number, forcing drivers to park their vehicles randomly on roads.“Some five years ago, there were nearly 805 parking stands in the eastern and western suburbs that could accommodate 4,000-odd rickshaws. But today, their number has decreased to such an extent that they can only hold 1,000-odd autos,” said Shashank Rao of the Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union.
Like the auto unions, their counterparts, the taxi unions claimed that the transport department has been long ignoring their plea of allotting new taxi stands and reviving the old ones. “There are nearly 1,200-odd parking lots across the city that can be revived,” said Mumbai Taximens Union leader A L Quadros. “The problem escalates in the city, as the roads here are narrow. Even one wrongly parked taxi makes traffic movement miserable,” said a traffic officer, requesting anonymity.
An RTO official stated that the office is working on finding space for erecting new stands where autos and taxis can be parked. The official added that most of the signboards indicating parking stands are either damaged or stolen by miscreants. Also, at times, they are removed during roadwork.
Explaining the importance of having a dedicated parking space, A V Shenoy, a transport expert, said, “It is necessary for the government to provide parking stands for autos and taxis, especially near shopping malls, so that the practice of parking these vehicles haphazardly is put to an end.”
According to the traffic police, Andheri, Vile Parle, Kandivli, Borivli, Ghatkopar and Mulund are some of the worst affected areas