Lockdown in Mumbai: A slight dip in the number of commuters
ANI Photo

Tuesday saw people on the road though the number of those travelling in public transportation saw a dip. The authorities expect these numbers to come down considerably in the days to come. On April 6, one could see empty auto rickshaws, taxis running, or staying idle on road. However, the BEST buses and local trains were still full especially during peak hours though there was a slight dip in the number of commuters.

On road, shops and retail outlets were seen open in the first half while people were also seen travelling in private vehicles and public transportation. However as the day progressed, there was a dip. By end of the day, around 60 percent of auto rickshaws and taxis were either running empty or lying idle parked on the road.

“The autos and taxis have been severely affected. Lot many of these drivers were forced to park their vehicles on road,” said Shashank Sharad Rao, president, Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union.

Similarly, the taxi drivers too were forced to park their vehicles on road waiting for passengers. They wrote a letter to the Mumbai Traffic Police as well requesting them to stop taking action against drivers for parking on road. ‘Due to huge reduction in passengers using the taxis a large number of taxi drivers have gone back to their native place out of fear. More than 70 percent of taxis have become non-operative,’ states the letter.

Meanwhile, the local trains have also seen a drop in the number of daily passengers by 7-10 percent. The average daily passengers on Western Railway have come down to around 15 lakh from the earlier 17 lakh. And the daily passengers on Central Railway have touched 19 lakh from 21 lakh seen last month.

The BEST buses were also no different. Although during peak hours, people were seen sitting and travelling; however during off-peak, there were lesser crowds. According to sources, the daily count could have touched 22 lakh or so. The drivers and conductors were seen standing in bus stops checking IDs of passengers and issuing tickets.

“The problem is that the administration has not paid around Rs 60 crore since June till December 2020 that is towards a daily incentive of Rs 300 for working under the shadow of Covid-19. We have now demanding this to be raised to Rs 500 per day and moreover pay the arrears as well,” added Rao.

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Free Press Journal