Snap stir by cab drivers hits traffic on airport road

Snap stir by cab drivers hits traffic on airport road

Fresh crackdown against cabs linked to Uber, Ola triggers protest

Snap stir by cab drivers hits traffic on airport road

Caught between the Transport department and taxi aggregators over licence imbroglio, cab drivers and owners staged a snap protest near the  toll plaza on Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) road on Tuesday. 

The protest brought traffic to a halt for at least two hours as vehicles piled up over two kilometres. 

The protest took place after the RTO officials intensified their drive against the cabs and began to stop them at the toll gate to seize cabs attached to aggregators Ola and Uber, stating that they were ferrying passengers in violation of permit condition. 

A senior police officer said: “At around 8 am, cab drivers noticed transport department staff booking drivers near the toll plaza. Everyone got together and blocked the road and staged a protest. The traffic and law and order police rushed to the spot.”

Vehicles coming from KIA were most affected while airport-bound vehicles were not much affected. “There was no much traffic congestion and the drivers who were gathered were asked to leave the place with their vehicles immediately,” added the officer.

The Chikkajala police said that a case was registered against the drivers under the section 143 IPC (Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished), 341 IPC (Punishment for wrongful restraint) and 283 IPC (Danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation) R/w 149. We will investigate into the case and arrest the guilty, the police added.

Pruthvi Manas of Girinagar, who was returning after dropping his parents at the airport, told Deccan Herald: “The cab drivers stopped their vehicles in the middle of the road at the toll plaza and staged a protest. Fortunately, people going towards the airport were not affected much, if not they could have missed the flights.”

Stuck for 30 minutes
Agni Sakshi a techie, who was stuck in the traffic jam, said: “It was an unplanned protest and caused traffic jam. The drivers should have planned to stage a protest at a place where there is no much movement of vehicle. Now, it has become a mess and we are stuck for more than 30 minutes.”

As the message spread, hundreds of cab owners and drivers gathered at the Freedom Park to condemn the department’s fresh crackdown against them. They demanded transport department to stop targeting them and release the seized vehicles. 

They also blamed aggregators and the department for playing with their lives. “I did not work for a week fearing action by the RTO. How long this confusion will continue? asked cabbie Manju Gowda. 

Drivers and owners have been demanding the department not to target them if their aggregators have not obtained licence. They questioned why the department was not initiating any action against the aggregators.

Transport Commissioner Ramegowda said they were not targeting anyone and only enforcing the rules. “We have been receiving complaints from public about the surcharge price of Ola and Uber. It is our duty to respond to the complaints,” he said.