Local taxis and black and yellow prepaid cabs, popularly known as 'kaali peeli taxis', are benefiting from the situation.
There is a saying, someone’s pain is someone else’s gain. This is evident as commuters continued to face difficulties in hiring cabs in Delhi-NCR due to the strike called by Ola and Uber drivers. Local taxis and black and yellow prepaid cabs, popularly known as ‘kaali peeli taxis’, are benefiting from the situation. During morning and evening peak hours, cabs were not available at times on both Uber and Ola apps and the routes where taxis were available, companies were resorting to surge pricing. So those who have a flight or train to catch are relying on local cab companies. A few have opted for government-registered metered radio taxi services such as Easy, Meru and Mega, according to The Indian Express report.
Unfortunately, talks between the Delhi government and striking drivers of Ola and Uber had failed to break the deadlock even as the city administration warned of strict action against any violence. Commuters had to pay astronomical fares as the strike called by Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi (SDAD) entered its seventh day. A section of drivers of the union may disrupt traffic movement in some parts of the city today after their two leaders, who were on the hunger strike at Jantar Mantar since Friday, were admitted to RML Hospital in view of their deteriorating condition.
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“Airport authorities have been pressurising us to increase the number of vehicles deployed but we have a limited number of cabs, around 550, which take time to return after dropping passengers across the NCR. So there is this wait time of 10-15 minutes when flights land and passengers queue up,” a Meru Cab representative at the airport told Indian Express.
However, a traffic police officer said, “Between 6 pm and 9 pm, several flights land, especially at the international terminal and the deluge of passengers puts a slight strain on transportation here. Since last week’s strike, passengers have been waiting for 40-60 minutes for their turn at the taxi booths. Harried passengers complain to us but we can only ask the radio cab drivers to increase their fleet.”
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At the New Delhi railway station, the demand for Delhi Police’s prepaid cabs has seen a 40 per cent jump. Passengers have also been relying on the Metro and autorickshaws at the station, the report said.
There was shortage of taxis on the capital’s roads during morning and peak hours on the seventh day of the strike. On Ola and Uber’s apps, there were unavailability of cabs at times and sometimes, fares were higher than normal. SDAD vice-president vice-president Ravi Rathore, who was admitted to hospital, said that the union’s representatives had met Transport Minister Satyendar Jain, but the talks could not reach any conclusion.
“In the meeting, the minister sought time to address all their demands, but drivers were not ready to accept the offer. It has been seven days of their strike and that they did not want to give more time to government now.
“As I and our union president Kamaljeet Singh Gill are admitted to RML Hospital, we don’t know what our drivers will do on Friday. From our side, the strike is still on,” Rathore said.
Meanwhile, the transport minister has warned of strict action against those drivers indulging in violence, a day after striking drivers torched a taxi in Indirapuram.
“I will request Lt Governor to take strict action against drivers who indulge in violence which will not be tolerated at any cost,” Jain said.
Asked about commuters being overcharged by autorickshaw drivers due to the strike, the minister said that he appealed to all striking drivers not to overcharge passengers.
Thousands of drivers are on strike since February 10 in Delhi-NCR demanding an increase in fares from the existing Rs 6 per km and also want the 25 per cent commission the app-based aggregators charge on every booking be discontinued.
Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union have already cleared they would not support strike as their business was getting affected due to app-based taxi services.
(With agency inputs)