May 5, 2009 10:14:22 pm
Autorickshaws may be off the city roads but four days into their strike,auto drivers are feeling the pinch. They are also looking at innovative ways to make good the loss of their daily income. They are ferrying passengers,but are using a number of unlikely vehicles bicycles,scooters/ motorbikes and even pick-up vans to ply stranded passengers.
I am offering cycle service to ferry luggage and when necessary also give ride to people over short distances up to 3-4 km. I charge Rs 50-100 per trip; it is not too bad as I make around Rs 200-300 a day, said auto driver Shahabuddin.
Abdul Rahman,the sole breadwinner for his family,has an easier option. He is out at the railway station on his motorbike,like the motorbike taxi operators of Goa. He charges between Rs 80 and Rs 200 per trip depending on distance. He admits he is making much more money than he would by running his autorickshaw. Strike sab theek hain,lekin hum ko ghar chalana hai, said Rahman.
For Nishant,who opted for a two-wheeler ride to his residence in Koregaon Park,it made a lot of sense,as a taxicab would have meant at least double the fare. With only one bag,the two-wheeler ride was a better choice, he said.
Echoing the view was Akhil Abhavu,a software engineer,who landed from Mumbai. Everyone was out to take advantage of the opportunity. A drop to Magarpatta that normally costs Rs 50-60 by auto is costing me Rs 300 by taxi. The other option was to take a ride in an auto,also for the same amount and face the wrath of the unions on strike, he said.
Nandakishore Malani of Kasbapeth managed to get to the Railway station with his five family members on time thanks to a pick-up van. He charged Rs 100 but I found it okay. The strike is putting common people like me in big trouble. They should call it off, he said.
Manoj Patil,DCP (traffic),said,We should not object to people who offer such services. But it should not be at a cost (which is exorbitant).
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