A flash strike by a handful of taximen, who forced many other cabbies to stay off their roads, added to commuters' woes on a rainy Monday.
The strike was called by a pressure group, the Republican Taxi Chalak Malak Sangh, which is affiliated to the Republican Party of India. It was demanding that the crackdown on old taxis be stopped immediately.
“There was no notice of such a strike; we will continue our drive. The strike's impact was negligible,” said Maharashtra Transport Commissioner Dilip Jadhav.
Many taximen stayed off the road following rumours of violence. To add to the confusion, in an unrelated incident at Mahim, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists attacked a few taxis.
"We oppose the injustice meted out to poor taxi drivers. More than 5,000 taximen are with the Republican Taxi Chalak Malak Sangh. Not all the taxis declared illegal are old. We are meeting Home Minister R.R. Patil on Tuesday," said Aba Nirbhavne, the group's coordinator.
Prepaid taxis at the airport's domestic terminal also stopped operating from 6.50 am to 10.50 am after rumours of attacks on taxis at Dadar. Mumbai International Airport Ltd arranged for five buses to drop passengers to Andheri station.
At the international terminal, too, prepaid taxis did not operate between 9.10 am and 11.10 am. Here, too, five buses were arranged for, along with 15 Meru cabs, to drop passengers to the station. Fleet taxis operated normally.