At least 5,000 auto-rickshaws will stay off the roads on Monday, holding Mumbaiites to ransom for the second time in two weeks.
The drivers are participating in a demonstration led by Sharad Rao, president of one the city's biggest auto unions, outside the Transport Commissioner Office at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).
The rally is expected to lead to traffic blocks at key spots in the city. As reported in HT, on September 20, auto drivers had gone on a flash strike protesting the Regional Transport Office's drive against tampered meters.
"There will be inconvenience to the public as 5,000 autos will be off the roads, but we have informed the police about the agitation so that they can take care of the traffic," said Shashank Rao, secretary of Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Men's Union.
"The meeting will be held at BKC ground where the autos will be parked, so it will not halt traffic on the roads," he added.
This time, the union is demanding a tariff hike to ensure that drivers earn Rs 25,000 a month. The minimum fare was hiked by Rs 2 in 2010, and it wants a Rs 6 hike now.
Sharad Rao made excuses for drivers refusing fares and tampering meters.
"Drivers have to return the auto at a stipulated time," before adding, "Meters are tampered because drivers are under-paid."
Around 1.04 lakh auto-rickshaws ply in the city.