Delhi auto drivers on strike for fare hike

April 1st, 2010 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Thousands of autorickshaws went off the roads here Thursday seeking a fare hike, hitting hard commuters, many of who had to endure overcrowded buses.
According to Tipahiya Chalak Sangh, a union of autorickshaw drivers, an estimated 55,000 autorickshaws joined the strike, putting a huge load on other modes of public transport.

Union leader Lakshmi Chand Kashyap said: “We have three demands. First, the fare should be hiked. There should be shelters and autorickshaw stands in the city. Finally, the chief minister should take back her statement on providing alternative mode of transportation to autorickshaws.”

Slamming autorickshaw operators for their poor service, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had said that the government was looking at alternatives to give Delhi’s commuters a better transportation system.

The strike affected tens of thousands of commuters in the capital.

Rashi Sharma, who takes an autorickshaw from Karol Bagh to work in Vasant Vihar every day, said she had to hire a radio taxi. “I had no other choice.”

Abhinav Garg, another commuter, said he could not even get a radio taxi because of the huge demand for them Thursday.

“After a good two hours, I went to the local taxi stand and took a black and yellow taxi to work,” he said.

Even for those who generally take the bus, it was a challenge to board one because of overcrowding.

“Almost all buses were overloaded. It was a suffocating sight,” said student Ayesha Das.

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