Some were stranded, others reached late

Caught unawares

Some were stranded, others reached late

The strike inconvenienced regular passengers as well as those arriving from outside the City.

About 1.2 lakh autos went off the roads on Monday morning to impress upon the government to reduce taxes on auto LPG. While the autorickshaw drivers may be making a point, a large number of people, who regularly depend on autos, were left in a lurch. Even the 380 buses that were pressed into service were crowded and the waiting period for people was more. People had to consciously make a change in their schedule. 

Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Association, says, “We demand that the government reduce taxes on LPG and there are several other demands, including better health care facilties and housing. We realise that our strike has inconvenienced people but we have to make both ends meet. With such increase in prices, how do we manage our families?” When asked why auto drivers demand excess fare, Manjunath says, “The commuters shouldn’t agree to pay and immediately report it to the police. Today, because of the strike, every auto driver stands to lose Rs 1,000. It’s a big loss for us.”

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) more than made up for the inconvenience by releasing 200 additional buses from Sunday afternoon and another 180 buses on Monday morning. Anjum Parwez, managing director, BMTC, reasons that those who take autos regularly travel only short distance. “Those who take a bus travel long distances and buses carry almost 45 per cent of the total passenger load in the City as compared to autos that bear only seven per cent of the burden. Only the calculation of the revenue at the end of the day will give us a clear picture as to how many people took the bus today. I am sure it has increased,” reasons Anjum. 

According to a senior official with the Regional Transport Department, an estimated 15 to 20 lakh people in the City travel by autorickshaws everyday. “We don’t have an exact number but every auto will travel a minimum of 100 km per day and make about 10 or more trips. With this, you get an idea of the number of people who travelled,” he says. When asked what action is taken against auto drivers who charge more, the official notes, “We will book a case against them and charge a fine of Rs 100. If complaints continue, the permits will be cancelled.”

The ones who bore the brunt of the strike were those who take the auto regularly. Shreyas Jyothi, a professional, says that the distance between his office and residence is about 18 kilometres. “I had given my bike for servicing and the alternative for me was to take an auto. I had to change three buses to get to work. Not only was I late, it was terrible travelling in an overcrowded bus.” Shikha Tyagi, an employee with ACT Broadband, travels from Rajajinagar to Cunningham Road for work. 
   “I didn’t know about the strike until I got out of home and waited for an auto. I was 30 minutes late for a meeting and a lot of my colleagues too struggled to get to work. The autorickshaw drivers may have their reasons for going on a strike but they should make sure people in the City are informed in advance.”

Ruby Simon, a student who returned from her hometown, concludes, “I was stranded at the City Railway Station for almost four hours before I could hire a taxi, which was too expensive for me. The strike was indeed a shock for those who got into the City.” 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry