With long queues outside ATMs and banks continuing for a fourth consecutive day, autorickshaw drivers of the twin cities said they were the worst hit by the demonetisation of higher denomination notes.
City autorickshaw union leader Omprakash Gurjar said residents have downloaded mobile apps and use online payments for taxi services that charge almost the same as autorickshaws.
“It has been three days and autorickshaw drivers are suffering because of low ridership. The reason is the lack of lower denomination currency notes. Many drivers mainly earned from ferrying residents of societies. Residents have money and they are not hesitating in hiring cabs using apps for the lack of cash in hand. This has taken a toll on our income,” Gurjar said.
Ruby Singhal, Noida and Ghaziabad’s only woman autorickshaw driver, said she did not earn a single rupee on Saturday.
“We spent whatever change we had in the last two days. Now we don’t have lower denomination notes and keep waiting all day for any passenger who turns up with loose money,” Singhal said.
She said the shared autorickshaws are also having a bad time as people are not willing to shell out change because of long queues at the banks and ATMs.
“My brother, who drives a shared autorickshaw, earned a minimal amount on Saturday. Things are getting worse. Those regular customers who have not managed to withdraw cash from banks are not able to pay us because of the lack of change. The government should have infused a large quantity of lower denomination notes before banning the higher currency notes,” Singhal said.
Many autorickshaws were seen parked along roads through the day.
“My college is about two km from my hostel and I have been commuting using autorickshaws for the last three years. In the last couple of days, I ran out of cash. Now I am hiring cabs using mobile apps and paying online to reach the college. While returning, some friend drops me near my residence,” Aniket Tiwari, a BTech student of Sector 127 said.