While in Delhi and Gurgaon the situation remained normal, as most app-based cabs decided to ply defying the union’s call for strike, in Noida, commuters faced commuting issues.
The High Court’s directive on the ongoing strike by app-based taxis in the NCR on April 18 came as a respite for commuters.
In its directive, Delhi High Court asked drivers to resume services if they did not wish to be part of the strike, and also directed the police to ensure their safety. The court also restrained the two protesting taxi drivers’ unions from interfering with the running of app-based cabs of Uber, which had been disrupted by the recent strike by drivers.
Most of the cab drivers or the cab owners belong to the lower middle class and were unwilling to take part in the one-day strike, as it would deeply impact their daily earnings.
The concern was palpable in the words of Raghuvender Pal, a cab driver from Mayur Vihar. He said, “I have three fixed passengers every day — the first passenger is from Samachar Apartments, and I have two others in the evening from the same society. If I support the protest, I will lose my fixed customers.”
Driver Dinesh Kumar from East Delhi added, “I have two Uber taxies. I pay Rs 20,000 every month as instalment for one of them — I have to pay that at any cost. I have to be on the road every day.”
In Gurgaon, too, most cabs were plying and commuters as such didn’t face any hassles.
“The strike, which has been happening on and off since the start of the year, has already impacted our incomes negatively. I am paying a hefty EMI for my car, so I won’t be able to participate in the protests any more,” said Ghan Shyam (name changed) from Gurgaon.
The same reasons stood for cabbie Sanjeev Kumar from Gurgaon. He complained, “These rides are our source of income — if we stop taking passengers, what will we eat? But sometimes, the union creates pressure on us to participate and we have to give in.”
The scene, however, was different in Noida. Cabbies in the city seemed reluctant to operate — and it was the residents who bore the brunt of this.
Anuradha Pandey, a resident of Sector 27, told City Spidey, “I usually take an Ola cab for getting to my office in Sector 135. But today, there were no cabs, and after wasting a lot of time trying to get one, I had to take an auto.”
There were many commuters who suffered last-mile connectivity to Metro stations because of the unavailability of cabs, and others resorted to car pools.
Maybe the drivers still haven't forgotten the traumatic experience of Rahul Kumar, the Uber cab driver who had his vehicle set on fire in Indirapuram by protesters because he was seen operating during a strike.