Taxi drivers

Why Delhi Auto, taxi drivers are on strike

The capital woke up to empty streets on Monday with various Delhi rickshaw, taxi and taxi unions on strike in protest at rising fares. Protesters including taxi drivers Ola and Uber demand CNG subsidy and fare review following fuel price hike

The protesters are due to stage protests outside the Civil Lines residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the afternoon to press their demands. Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh General Secretary Rajendra Soni confirmed the news.

The strike causes chaos

City commuters struggled to find taxis and cars on Monday morning. Passengers outside Delhi railway stations have also faced difficulties in obtaining transportation. Although the cars are available on the Ola and Uber apps, the fares have been inflated. Unions of car and taxi drivers have demanded higher fares and lower CNG prices to offset the impact of rising fuel prices.

Speaking to Outlook, Ratan Kumar, a car driver in Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar area, said the strike is the only way to make the government listen and it will continue until the demands are met.

“People will complain if they don’t have transport. That’s the only way. The government didn’t hear us, we hope they hear the demands of commuters,” Kumar said.

He adds that strikes are not only a problem for commuters but also for the driver. “We have to give up a whole day’s income,” adds Kumar, a migrant from Madhya Pradesh.

There are over 90,000 cars and over 80,000 registered taxis complementing the city’s public transport system. According to reports, most unions have decided to strike for one day and resume services from Tuesday. However, some like the Sarvodaya Driver Association Delhi, which has members who drive for taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber, said it would be an “indefinite” strike.

Recently, the Delhi government announced that it would form a committee to consider a tariff review within a specified time frame. The unions, however, refused to call off the strike. “Our strike has started and it will continue throughout the day. CNG has become more expensive and we cannot continue to run our business with losses. Either we should receive a subsidy of Rs 35 per kg on CNG , or tariffs should be increased,” Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh’s general secretary, Rajendra Soni, told PTI.

Soaring prices cause strike

The strike was announced following a hike in the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) which rose by Rs 2.5 per kg and Rs 4.25 per unit respectively. Consumers in Delhi and NCR will now have to pay Rs 71.61 for one kilogram of CNG and Rs 45.86 per unit of PNG, Moneycontrol reported. This is the fourth increase in April and the ninth increase in CNG prices this year after five consecutive increases in March.

Car fares were last revised by 18% in 2019 by the Delhi government, while taxi fares were last revised in 2013.

(With PTI entries)