Auto, taxi unions try to bring city to a standstill, govt pushes in more buses

The two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions resulted in almost all auto-rickshaws and taxis refusing to ply on Wednesday. The situation is expected to remain the same on Thursday.

Over 200 protests were held by different trade unions in the city.

Most commuters complained that the few autos and taxis that agreed to ferry them asked for exorbitant fares. With most people turning to the Delhi Metro to reach their destinations, the stations remained crowded through the day.

The Delhi government said the strike had no affect on the transport sector and more than the usual number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses were on the roads on Wednesday. But a number of bus unions, including a section of DTC employees, also extended support to the strike.

"While most of the DTC employees turned up for work, they showed their solidarity by parking their buses on the side of the roads,'' Rampath Kasana, of Delhi Parivahan Mazdoor Sangh, said.

The Transport department has also allowed all contract carriage buses, tourist permit buses and maxi-cab buses to ply on DTC routes as a state carriage on Wednesday and Thursday. The Delhi Police also ensured necessary security arrangements at bus depots to protect the buses against vandalism and disruption.

Meanwhile, passengers at major railway stations and bus stands remained stranded or had to shell out extra to reach their destinations. Private taxi drivers at New Delhi railway station, commuters said, were over-charging them.

"Taxi driver were asking for Rs 1,000 till Nizamuddin from New Delhi railway station. This journey usually costs Rs 300," Ajay Nambiar, who came from Kerala, said.

Radio cab operators, such as Meru, said there was a 20 per cent increase in their bookings on Wednesday.

Long queues were seen at the New Delhi Metro station. "I had to stand in queue for 30 minutes to enter the Metro station," Aditya Bharadwaj, a student, said.

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