For the people of Delhi, the first day of April turned out to be quite inconvenient. With autos staying off the road on Thursday, all that the stranded Delhiites could do was either take an overcrowded bus or hire a costly taxi.
Sarita Vashisht, 53, a resident of Jammu who is in Delhi to visit her daughter, reached the New Delhi Railway Station on Thursday morning to find the pre-paid auto stand empty. “I did not know of the strike. I have two bags with me. I have no option but to take a taxi that will cost me twice as much as an auto,” she said.
The scene was similar in various other parts of the city. Auto stands at CP, Nehru Place, Vikas Puri and Mayur Vihar bore a deserted look while the buses were overloaded.
“There is no direct bus from Malviya Nagar to GK. I will have to change three buses to reach college,” said Anupriya Jain, 19, a student.
A majority of about 55,000 autos plying in Delhi stayed off the roads demanding an immediate hike in the fare since the CNG prices had increased by Rs 2.50 in the past one year.
The handful of autos that did ferry the passengers, however, resorted to overcharging. “I paid Rs 250 to come to CP from Vikas Puri but I’m lucky to have got an auto at all,” said Atul Sharma, a businessman.
Taxis were the most popular option for commuters in areas without metro connectivity. “I have been waiting for an auto for the last 30 minutes. Taxis are already booked. This strike is very inconvenient,” said Sheena Khatri, 25, who was waiting for an auto in Saket.
The Delhi auto strike has affected residents of NCR areas like Noida too as they had to hire taxis at exorbitant charges demanded by them.
The Delhi auto strike has affected residents of NCR areas like Noida too as they had to hire taxi at exorbitant charges demanded by them.
“Today I had to hire a taxi and the driver charged Rs 600 for Rajindra Place from my Noida Sector 56 house. On a normal day I pay Rs 180 to the auto,” said Mohini Sharma an employee of MNC.
Several auto commuters even pooled and hired taxi to make it economical. “We four girls hired taxi collectively today though we go by autos separately,” said Veena Gehrotra, a Sector 33 resident.