Taxi drivers at the Mumbai international airport held fliers landing in the city at ransom as they went on a flash strike for two hours on Thursday afternoon.
The protest triggered off when drivers of black-and-yellow taxis found fleet cabs (private taxis such as the Meru and Cool Cabs), parked in the area reserved for their taxis. The agitated taxi drivers had an argument with the fleet taxi drivers’, which culminated into the flash strike.
Around 12pm, the drivers of black-and-yellow taxis began protesting at the international terminal of the Mumbai airport and prevented the drivers of both, regular taxis and the fleet cabs, from ferrying passengers leaving the airport.
If this wasn’t enough, the protesting taxi drivers did not even allow passengers to use fleet taxis that had been booked for from inside the airport.
“We did not allow any taxi to ply from the airport as we were angry that fleet taxis are being allowed to enter the airport premises. It has been clearly decided that unless a passenger books a cab from inside the airport, these fleet cabs shouldn’t breach our space,” said Guddu Singh, secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Sanghatana.
“We will express our anger the same way every time fleet cab drivers enter our premises unnecessarily,” said another member of the Mumbai Taximen’s Sanghatana.
A senior official from the Regional Transport office said, “Clear instructions have been issued to fleet taxis to remain outside the terminal’s premises, where a separate taxi stand has been built for them”.
The flash strike went on till 2pm and the drivers called off the strike only after they were pacified by police and other airport officials, who assured them that the fleet cab drivers will be asked to wait outside the premises and would be not be allowed to ferry passengers until a clear decision is taken on the matter.
The state transport department has fixed a meeting to resolve the issue in the first week of July.
There are nearly 1,500 black-and-yellow taxis and around 200-odd fleet cabs at the airport.