Autos, taxis go off Delhi roads; commuters hit
New Delhi: Thousands of commuters in Delhi were hit hard as large numbers of autorickshaws and taxis went off the roads on Tuesday to protest against a law on installing GPS systems in the vehicles.
The autorickshaw and taxi operators were on a one-day strike opposing the high installation charges for the proposed Global Positioning System (GPS) in their vehicles and demanding a fare hike to compensate for this.
Over 10,000 taxis and a large number of autorickshaw unions have decided to stay off the roads.
"Both autos and taxis will not be available in many parts of the national capital as a mark of protest," an auto union member said.
Commuters had a harrowing time as several autorickshaws kept off the roads and the frequency of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses was low in the morning.
"The buses are already crowded and there is no certainty about their frequency. And the Metro line is far from my house. I am bound to be dependent on autos," said a furious Shabbir Ansari, a resident of Jamia Nagar.
"I had to wait for 45 minutes to get an auto for a distance of less than three kilometres from Sarojini Nagar to Green Park (in south Delhi). I paid Rs 50 for what should be Rs 25 by the meter. Why can't authorities do anything? It is a torture," said Supriya Sharma, a resident of South Delhi's Sarojini Nagar.
On Monday, Delhi Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami had said that additional buses would be deployed across the city, including at railway stations, interstate bus terminals, airport and hospitals.
Anu Tandon, a sales executive from east Delhi, complained that she had to walk around two kilometres from her home to the nearest Metro station as she could not get an auto.
"I had to walk about two kilometres to the Metro station, as I couldn't get an auto," she said.
However, the auto strike proved to be a bonanza for cycle rickshaw-pullers. Some of them charged double from the usual and earned an entire week's income on Tuesday.