Mumbai rains: Chaos on roads as train services shut down
Andheri pedestrian bridge collapse cuts off suburban services, putting commuters at the mercy of cabbies and autorickshaw drivers
Robbed of their (commuting) lifeline after the bridge collapse, Mumbaikars poured out onto the streets, ignoring the downpour. But that didn't ease their trouble, as many had to wait for hours to find transport, while those who did were charged four times the usual fares, with private cabs and kaali-peelis milking stranded citizens for all that was worth.
"I had to reach Churchgate, but with trains not running, I had no option but to take a kaali-peeli. I came out of the station in Goregaon and tried to hail a cab, but most refused to ply due to the rain and traffic. Those who agreed asked for double the usual fare, including one who asked for Rs 1,500 for the journey that costs around Rs 700," said Rajesh Chavan, one of the stranded commuters who later got a lift in a private car.
A driver pushes his auto on a waterlogged street on Tuesday. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Many others had similar stories to share, as the rates for shared cabs, too, climbed and touched exorbitant. Vinit Bhavi, a marine engineer travelling from Bandra-Kurla Complex to Andheri, faced a lot of harassment, with almost every private cab driver making the most of the heavy shower and bridge collapse and charging double than the usual for the route.
Another commuter, Parmeshwar Raman, complained that while booking a cab, he was shown a fare of Rs 173 for the trip, but just minutes before the journey, the price surged to Rs 400, after news of the bridge collapse spread.
Cab aggregator Uber, however, claimed, "Due to the heavy rainfall and severe waterlogging in Mumbai, Uber has turned off dynamic pricing across the city. We are trying our best to ensure availability of Ubers on the road. We encourage Mumbaikars to POOL and share their ride with fellow commuters travelling in the same direction."
A shameful trend
Last year, too, when the entire city flooded after heavy rains, and Elphinstone Road station was cordoned off for a while after the stampede, cab drivers upped fares by several times for distressed customers. This, unfortunately, seems to have become the norm for cabbies during any disaster, natural or man-made.
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Mumbai rains: Many long-distance trains rescheduled, cancelled