Thousands of taxis and auto rickshaws stayed off the roads on Thursday in response to the day-long strike call by the Mumbai Auto rickshaw-Taxi men's Union, causing a lot of inconvenience to commuters here.
The strike has received complete support across the city and approximately 55,000 taxis and 1.5 lakh rickshaws will stay off the roads today, Union leader Sharad Rao told PTI.
"The Union has given the strike call to protest against the Maharashtra government's decision to phase out taxis which are over 25 years old and other issues which have not been resolved," he said.
The Union said the phasing out of the existing taxis, a majority of which are of the Premier Padmini make, was wrong since the emission norms prescribed were being met by the vehicles.
They also alleged that the phasing out was a scheme, which allowed some persons to make money off the taxi drivers.
Rao said despite the Maharashtra government forming a committee to look into the issue of phasing out taxis and other issues like the introduction of electronic meters in auto rickshaws, no solutions have been worked out.
Other demands of the Union include a hike in fares, making electronic meters optional, and exemptions from paying toll tax and professional tax for taxi drivers, abolition of fleet taxis and providing facilities for taxi drivers at city airports.
The striking union members are also expected to meet Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, Transport Commissioner and other authorities regarding their resolutions and demands today.