Yesterday, this newspaper carried a front page report about 75,000 auto rickshaws staying off the roads on Wednesday, June 18, just two days after a taxi strike. While the strike did affect large swathes of people, especially those who were at the mercy of the few rickshaws that were plying and had to pay double and treble the usual fare, there was also a silver lining on the monsoon thunder clouds.
The transport crunch could have had a crippling effect on the city, had it not been for Mumbaikars, who displayed great resourcefulness and fortitude with solutions such as carpooling, cycling and engaging buses to get to work on time.
In Kandivli, over 200 office-goers benefitted after a group of youngsters came up with the idea of roping in a bus to ferry locals to Kandivli station during office hours. What is heartening is that these youngsters showed maturity beyond their years after their NGO, Youth For Change decided to step in to help. They efficiently helped so many commuters free of cost and got loads of goodwill in return.
There were also several examples of people carpooling their way to work, besides of course, more people using the local train and bus services. A car owner offered his car to other commuters and yet another actually cycled to work from Bandra to Fort.
While all these examples may have been few and far in between, it does show what people can do when they come together for the common good.
The harried Mumbaikar went beyond thinking of himself and his convenience in a challenging time.
When there is a sterling show of people power, or commuter power as one could call this, then there is little that agitating transport unions can do.
This is not to say that their demands are justified or unjustified, rather to show that there is truly strength in unity, and that with vision and compassion, one can help oneself and others to take the sting out of strikes that cripple this commuting city.
More power to the people.