Mumbaikars reach simmering point as rickshaws hold the city to ransom

As the mid-morning sun became harsher and the mercury rose on Monday, tempers of thousands of commuters in the city matched the mercury, of many stranded outside railway stations and generally on the roads, owing to the auto strike

As the mid-morning sun became harsher and the mercury rose on Monday, tempers of thousands of commuters in the city matched the mercury, of many stranded outside railway stations and generally on the roads, owing to the auto strike.

Shruti Salvi, law student from Bandra (right) Shruti Vaze, whose auto was stopped in Mankhurd
Shruti Salvi, law student from Bandra (right) Shruti Vaze, whose auto was stopped in Mankhurd

Law student, Shruti Salvi from Bandra said, “It’s frustrating enough that autos refuse to ply short distances on most days, and then they have a problem with other services like Uber and Ola. I think we should not pay heed to their strike and use public transport like buses to show these arrogant auto drivers.”

Empty auto stand at Mulund
Empty auto stand at Mulund

At the ever-crowded Ghatkopar railway station, a gaggle of teenage girls were furiously typing on their phones, tweeting and snap chatting about their ordeal of getting an auto to reach college. BEST bus lines grew longer by the minute, while some good Samaritans on two wheelers offered to give a lift to the elderly. Some of those cursed the auto drivers lounging nearby in language to make a sailor blush.

At times, though like they say, ignorance is bliss. A couple of girls at Ghatkopar were complaining, “What is this strike business? I had no idea about this, or else I could have bunk the morning class at least,” said one, wistfully.

What’s the point of this strike anyway? The autos are ending up losing business any which way,” said Anisha S, a commerce student.

Unperturbed by the chaos, auto drivers sitting idle in their ride termed the strike a “success” “These unlicensed, illegal private cabs are operating with no problems, but for us, getting a permit is such a problem. This has been a successful strike,” said an auto driver in Ghatkopar.

Monday morning blues took on an even darker shade for 28-year-old Navi Mumbai resident Shruti Vaze, who travels to Vikhroli for work by auto. “Getting an auto from Nerul took me 30 minutes. Then, some auto drivers halted my rickshaw at Mankhurd and forbade the driver from going any further, it was really intimidating. I got off mid-way and looked for a cab to reach work, ending up reaching office an hour late!”

Voices

Shantanu Kulkarni, Vidyavihar resident
Instead of going on strike, these auto unions should think of ways to improve their service and efficiency. Commuters would never have opted for cab aggregators if the autos bettered their service and stop harassing us

Vikas Mishra, Kalina resident
I did not bother to look for an auto, but took a cab to work, which cost me much more. The government should not give in to their demands

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