Subsidise CNG or hike fares, demand Mumbai's taxi unions

The city’s cab drivers are waging a price war yet again. The Mumbai Taximen’s union has written a letter to the state transportdepartment demanding that either the government subsidise Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or increase taxi fares by over 30 per cent.

Members of the taxi union claim that cab drivers hardly make enough money to feed their families in spite of longer work hours. File Photo

According to union members, cab drivers hardly earn enough to feed their families ever since the CNG rates shot up. Take the case of Dinesh Pandey, who has been driving a taxi since 1998. He told SUNDAY MiD DAY he is unable to provide for two square meals for his family following a drop in earnings.

According to union leaders, the recent rise in CNG prices by R3, has brought things to a head. At present the minimum fare for a taxi ride in Mumbai is R19 but taxi unions are demanding that it be hiked to Rs 25. “In the month of September CNG shot up by Rs 3. The per kg cost of CNG has gone up to R38.95,” a driver pointed out.

Anthony Quadros, General Secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said, “We have written a letter asking the government to subsidise CNG prices. Otherwise we will have no choice but to demand a sharp increase in the fare.” Quadros said they have been getting lots of complaints from taxi drivers regarding the increased rate of CNG. “The sudden drop in earnings is taking a toll on the health of our members. They have to now put in longer hours at work to earn enough,” said the union leader. The union members say they maybe forced to start a protest and even stay off the roads, if the government does not agree to either of their demands. 

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