About six months after the state government initiated 'Mission Begin Again', only 30 per cent of the registered auto-rickshaws are plying on the roads of maximum city, claimed Thampi Kurien - general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Association.
Presently the population of registered auto-rickshaws in Mumbai is around 2.5 lakh of which more than 1.5 lakh ply on the western suburbs. Kurien stated presently 75,000 auto-rickshaws are plying on the roads of Mumbai while the balance have chosen to stay off roads.
"Unless local trains, schools and colleges start operating normally, auto-rickshaws will continue to remain off roads because most of our passengers are either daily office goers or students of schools and colleges," Kurien told FPJ.
Presently there are nearly 100 registered sharing autorickshaw routes in Mumbai. In a sharing rickshaw, the drivers ferry three passengers at a time. As per the latest government orders - not more than two passengers are allowed inside an autorickshaw, due to which rickshaw drivers are suffering immense loss as most the sharing routes are still non-operational. Kurien stated, the drivers have to face a loss of 33 per cent in each trip, if they carry two passengers on a sharing route.
Earlier on October, the Rickshawmen's association had urged the state government to resume shared services in the city with two passengers. The union stated, if the government would allow services with two passengers, then they would charge the fare of the third passenger from two of them.
"People are boarding auto-rickshaws for travelling shorter distances only. This is causing us more fuel but less revenue," Kurien stated.
"Also now that public transport services are not fully operational Mumbaikars are travelling on their own cars and two wheelers. The number of two wheelers on the roads has also increased rampantly," he added.