Shared autorickshaws and private taxis came to the rescue of commuters in Noida on Tuesday, in the wake of a strike called by taxi drivers of mobile app-based cab services, Ola and Uber, across Delhi-NCR.
Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi (SDAD), which has been spearheading the strike in Delhi-NCR, has accused Delhi and Haryana governments of betraying the drivers by not fulfilling promises made to them.
The drivers’ union has been demanding that their meter rate is fixed by the Central or state government and not by private companies such as Ola and Uber. They claim that their counterparts (running local yellow and black taxis) are better off since their fare is fixed by the government and are not prone to alleged abuse by multinational companies.
Taxi drivers in Noida and Greater Noida also joined the strike, creating problems for regular cab users.
Also, due to fewer cabs on roads, Ola and Uber apps charged higher fares. “I usually pay Rs80 for a ride from Noida’s Sector 28 to Sector 63 but today (Tuesday), due to the fare hike, I had to pay Rs150 for the same trip,” Sumit Kumar of Arun Vihar said.
Many commuters switched to metro service and shared autorickshaws in the wake of the cab strike.
“I usually take a cab from Saket to Sector 62 of Noida, where my office is located. However, due to the steep hike in the fare, I decided to use the metro service. From Noida City Centre metro station, I took a shared autorickshaw, which charged me only Rs10 to reach my destination. In all, I paid Rs35 and saved more than Rs200 on my daily travel expense,” Kushagra Chettri, a resident of Delhi who works in Noida, said.
Poonam of Harola said, “I used the shared autorickshaw service after a long time. Many of them were parked near metro stations. The regular autorickshaws overcharge in such situations, whereas shared rides are very cheap and convenient.”
A severe rush was witnessed in the evening at sectors 62 and 63, after the working hours of the factories, companies and IT firms. However, the presence of shared autorickshaws at important junctions served to ease the jams.
Many private taxi service owners saw the strike as an opportunity to expand their business in the city. “We are offering both interstate and intercity travel services and the strike has not affected our services. Many customers are using our taxis since morning,” Ankit Agarwal, manager of Spice Cab Services, Noida, said.