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Commuters left with little choice

The first day of the week saw overcrowded buses and few auto drivers, some of whom were charging ten times the usual fare, reports Shubhodeep Chakravarty.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2009 23:27 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

After a long, pleasant weekend, Delhiites were in for a shock by the auto rickshaw strike on Monday.

The first day of the week saw overcrowded buses and few auto drivers, some of whom were charging ten times the usual fare.

Some of the commuters had to wait several hours to get into the crammed buses as the occasional autos demanded exorbitant rates.

"My train from Patna reached an hour back. I was unaware of the strike and I am paying the price for it. The few autos that I found are asking for Rs 400 to Janakpuri," said J. Azaad, 32, at the New Delhi railway station.

Others like Madhuri Ramachnadran (27), an advertising professional, couldn't even manage a fare quote.

"The few auto drivers I approached insisted on only travelling in Central Delhi. They were scared that their autos would be smashed by fellow union members if found on the road," she said.

The strike naturally meant a rise in metro rider ship. According to sources in the Delhi Metro, the figure stood at 8.4 lakh by 8 p.m. as against 7.2 lakh last Monday.

Even radio taxis worked overtime to meet the increased demand. "We got three times more calls today as against any other day. All of our drivers are doing three shifts,” said Gurvinder Singh of Quick Cabs.