Over the past few days, there have been complaints of difficulty in booking aggregator cabs. That’s not because of a problem with cab companies. The CNG supply has dipped, resulting in 25-30 per cent fewer cabs on roads and serpentine queues at CNG stations not being able to fill tanks to capacity. This has pushed the waiting period of booking cabs to 10-12 minutes on an average.
Autorickshaw drivers and permit holders have also been complaining that they are spending two to three hours in queues only to refill CNG tanks. Moreover, they are getting only 40-50 per cent of the tank's total capacity. The gas is being supplied at 140-150 bar pressure; 210 being the ideal pressure.
The aggregator cab driver unions also attributed the shortage to the demand during festive season. They said aggregator cabs are competing with lakhs of auto rickshaws and privately-owned cars running on CNG, which too are queuing up at gas stations of Mahanagar Gas Limited.
However, the black and yellow taxi drivers and permit holders feel the shortage is a way of forcing them to move towards electric vehicles as the government is trying to popularise the new mode.
There are 80,000 T-permit cars registered with various RTOs of Mumbai, out of which nearly 10 per cent are either staying away from roads due to traffic or haven’t returned from their hometowns even after the lockdown ended.
Union leader for aggregator cab drivers and owners, Anand Kute said, “At least 30 per cent of aggregator cabs for Uber and Ola are not on roads because of problems with availability of CNG. We fear this scarcity is being created to increase CNG rates.” The current CNG price is around Rs 52.
Meanwhile, officials from MGL claimed that the shortage is owing to the holidays, with more personal vehicles running on CNG, thereby hiking the demand. The MGL has around 275 CNG filling stations and expects to add 100 more in this financial year depending on the availability of land.
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