On working days, Sudhir Kohli of Sector 30, takes an autorickshaw from his residence to Huda City Centre Metro station and pays Rs 50 as one-way fare. On Monday, he had to shell out ₹120 for the same trip.
Gurgaon being a city that does not have adequate last-mile connectivity options and with the Delhi Metro service limited to only five station, residents are struggling to cope with the ongoing strike by cab employed by app-based cab drivers. With no option left, they are forced to depend on autorickshaws that do not ply by meter.
Maximising the opportunity, many auto drivers boosted their daily earnings on Monday as commuters were forced to spend more than double the prescribed fare.
“My residence is three kilometres from the Iffco Chowk Metro station and usually the autorickshaw fare is Rs 60. I wanted to visit my aunt in Saket, Delhi. I tried to hire an autorickshaw from the Galleria autorickshaw stand, but none of the drivers were willing to take me to the metro station for less than Rs 100. After unsuccessful negotiations and wasting 15 minutes, I gave up and reached the metro station after shelling out an exorbitant amount,” Anaita Kaul of Hamilton Court said.
The protesting union of cab drivers, Sarvodaya Driver Association, had claimed on Sunday that autorickshaw unions have given assurances they too will join the strike. However, there were no reports of disruption of autorickshaw services in Gurgaon. Instead, many continued to gain from the cabbies’ strike.
“My daily collection is usually around Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 on the weekends because of a drop in passenger numbers. Since Friday, my collection has been exceeding Rs 3,000. Today (Monday) morning, many passengers took long-distance trips and I have earned over Rs 1,500,” Shyam Kumar, an auto driver, said.
Manish Rai, an autorickshaw driver who usually operates on the Udyog Vihar-Moulsari Avenue-CyberHub metro station-Ambience Mall route said he has stopped the ‘share’ option for commuters after the cab strike started as he was getting a higher return on a single trip.
“I usually ferry five customers in a single trip and collect Rs 10 to Rs 20 from each. Instead, I am now ferrying individual passengers to interior parts of the city such as Civil Lines and Sohna Road that do not have the metro service. The strike has given me an opportunity to maximise my daily earnings,” Jha said.