Delhi transport strike: Commuters hit as several buses, cabs stay off roads; protests turn violent in some areas

  • Several private buses, taxis and autorickshaws remained off Delhi-NCR roads due to a transport strike against the amended Motor Vehicle Act provisions.

  • There were reports of attacks on some auto drivers who did not participate in the strike.

  • In Akshardam, a cab was reportedly vandalised for ferrying passengers.

Delhi commuters on Thursday faced difficulties in travelling as several private buses, taxis and autorickshaws remained off the roads due to a transport strike called by United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA) against the amended Motor Vehicle Act provisions.

Many schools in the national capital remained closed due to the strike while some asked parents to make their own arrangements to pick up and drop their wards. The services of Delhi Metro, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses remained unaffected.

UFTA general-secretary Shyamlal Gola said that over 50 transport associations and unions in Delhi-NCR were taking part in the strike from 6 am to 10 pm. They are demanding the withdrawal of the steep hike in road traffic penalties and certain other provisions of the new Motor Vehicle Act.

Rajender Soni, general secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Union, told PTI the national capital has over 50 small and big auto unions and majority of them took part in the strike. Delhi has over 90,000 autos.

 Delhi transport strike: Commuters hit as several buses, cabs stay off roads; protests turn violent in some areas

Auto-rickshaws parked along a road, during transport strike in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

There were also reports of attacks on some auto drivers who did not participate in the strike. News18 reported that a cab was vandalised in Akshardam for ferrying passengers. Hindustan Times quoted a police official as saying that a driver of a vehicle carrying schoolchildren was pulled out by a mob near Subzi Mandi police station. The police later detained the mob and the driver and dropped the six students at their respective residences.

However, Soni refuted the claims of the attacks and told PTI that the strike was peaceful and a large number of auto drivers were willingly participating in it.

Light Motor Vehicle Association, including various last-mile-connecting vehicles' associations of Grameen Sewa and e-rickshaws, said they did not participate in the strike.

The roads were relatively less congested as a sizeable number of the autos, taxis and buses operated by private operators remained off the road.

Passengers faced problems, especially at railways stations and Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBTs). Some also complained of surge pricing on app-based ride-hailing services. "I wanted to go to Vasant Vihar but there were no autos or cabs on the road. My wife dropped me halfway and then I waited for 30 minutes before one auto driver agreed to drop me to my destination," said Prannoy Raikhy, a lawyer residing in Vikaspuri.

Kishore Lal, a government employee, said he had to take the metro as the daily chartered bus from his residential colony to his office did not ply. "We waited for 15 minutes but the bus did not come. So we are taking the metro now," Lal, whose office is at the CGO complex, said.

An auto-rickshaw driver, Sanjay Kumar Shah told ANI: "The rate of the challans (fines) are very high. Earlier we paid Rs 100 fine which has now increased to Rs 25,000. So, we are against this implementation. Our earnings can't meet the heights of challans."

Outlining the plight of commuters, a Delhi local Satendra said, "As all the buses and autos are on strike it is getting difficult for us to manage today. I have been standing at the bus stand for more than an hour. The government should not keep such high challans. It is difficult for the auto people to pay. Their earnings are way less than the challans they are asked to pay."

Noida was also affected Thursday with Noida Transport United Front also calling for a strike alongside cab associations, CNG auto associations and bus operators. Around 50,000 transport vehicles were expected to stay off the roads.

In August, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had notified the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which was implemented in several states from 1 September.

The law enforces heavy fines and stricter penalties for traffic violations. There have been several instances where people have coughed up hefty fines for traffic violations in many parts of the country.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2019 18:37:31 IST