Auto Strike: Are The Fares Fair?

  • SumoMe

Creative 10I recently moved back from Mumbai, and I can surely say there are major differences between the place I love- Delhi and the place that made me fall in love- Mumbai. Not wanting to get into all the major hoopla surrounding the Delhi Vs Mumbai debate, I just want to point out one major difference that really sets the commercial city apart from the political one.

Recently, Delhi was reeling under the impact of the autowallahs going on a strike, again, raising their voice against the App-based cab services that are actually a hit with the common masses. Suffering under the popularity of the cab services, such as Ola, Uber, the Auto union is nothing but highly miffed. Twenty unions of autos and taxis have formed a Joint Action Committee, which has called for the indefinite strike. The Committee claimed about 85,000 auto and 15,000 yellow-black taxis have gone off the capital roads, due to these popular cab services.

However, is the surging standards of cab services are at fault or the deteriorating standards of autowallahs are?

How many times has it happened that some auto has refused service to us just because it wasn’t as per his convenience? How many times have these stubborn auto bhaiyas refused to go by meter and has indignantly demanded fare that was much more than the actual one? I am sure not all autowallahs do that, but majority does and, many like me have witnessed it.

However, the time I spent in Mumbai made me question a lot about how varied is the attitude of the auto unions in in these two cities. It is widely accepted that auto and taxi drivers in Mumbai do not generally overcharge or refuse to go to any particular direction. They are also willing to go for short distances. The position in Delhi is just the reverse. In Delhi, auto drivers generally overcharge; they refuse to go for short distances; their meters are, more often than not, defective; they misbehave, etc. In Mumbai, auto and taxi drivers appear to be afraid of regulatory system in place while in Delhi they are by and large unregulated.

I have never been refused an auto ride in Mumbai, but for Delhi, I know I really cannot say the same.

It’s not a comparison between the cities, but, it’s the attitude parameters of autowallahs that I am comparing. Why is there such a stark difference between the people following the same profession, and obviously reeling under the same unfairness of the App-based cab services?

Undeniably, with more supply there has to be more demand and Mumbai suffices this situation. Whereas in Delhi, there is a limited availability of autos causing the existing one to indulge in their own defined ‘mafia’ acts. There is, therefore, imperative need for doubling the number of autos in Delhi. Delhi government should immediately approach the court for removing the cap on the number of autos, as increased availability of autos would definitely stop the harassment being suffered by general public.

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However, the (un)successful strike has been put off for now. Many commuters were impacted, and since no solution has been thought of for now, the strike by the auto unions might be a recurrent event in the coming future, further impacting the commuters.

In times like these, why won’t the majority of the population fall more for the reliability of the cabs than the unjust autowallahs? Who is at fault- is it the convenience, reliability and adherence of meters by cab drivers, or the goonish behavior of the autowallahs?

Yugansha Malhotra

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