Auto rickshaws and taxis had a busy Sunday, not from ferrying passengers, but getting their vehicles repaired and cleaned. As per the unions, close to 75 to 80 per cent auto rickshaws and taxis were affected by waterlogging and remained off the road. On the other hand, mechanics had a field day repairing them.
On Sunday, the streets were relatively empty. “Our taximen suffered considerable loss.
Their earnings were hit and their cabs had to be repaired. There are 20,000 odd black and yellow taxis on the road on a given day. At least 80 per cent of them didn’t ply. We are working out a way to get insurance for these taxis,” said A Quadros, a senior taxi union leader.
Drivers were seen removing the seats of their cabs and getting them cleaned. Many were repairing and drying the engines. Some also manually pushed their cabs in a bid to start them.
The auto rickshaws too faced a similar predicament. There were cases of auto rickshaws getting swept away and even drowned inside underground parking lots.
In one such case in Kandivali, auto rickshaw drivers claimed that 350 to 400 auto rickshaws, motorbikes, T-permit cars operating for aggregator cabs and private cars drowned in an underground parking lot.
“We have already been burdened by paying parking charges. Plus, our earnings have been hit in this lockdown. Now, our auto rickshaws have drowned in this parking lot. We want the government to help us financially,” said a few drivers whose vehicles were stranded in this underground parking lot.
Mechanics across the city had a busy day repairing the vehicles. “Most of the vehicles that came had water in their engines and weren’t starting. There were other technical issues as well. Since morning, we have been getting cars, bikes and auto rickshaws coming one after the other to get repaired,” said Santosh Pawar, a mechanic who runs a garage in Borivali (East).
The garage owners and mechanics said that since trains are not available for all and BEST buses are crowded, many preferred taking their own vehicle to work on Monday. And so this rush was seen.