MUMBAI: The Covid-19 restrictions have led to a huge dip in auto, taxi rides. The number of daily rides in autorickshaws is down by 4-5 lakh, while that of taxis by nearly 50,000 due to ‘Break the Chain’, activists from the auto-taxi unions said on Monday.
Autos log average daily rides of 15 lakh, while it’s around a lakh in Mumbai for taxis, trade union sources said. “In the past one week, we have seen a huge drop in rides as only two passengers are allowed, while at the same time, people are not stepping out to go to private offices, shops etc. Autos are running empty even on feeder routes,” said Shashank Rao of Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union.
Another reason commuters are opting out of autos and taxis for short distance travel is the recent hike in fares by Rs 3. Mumbai Taximen’s Union leader A L Quadros said taxis are facing problems due to the new rule on just two passengers per cab.
Fearing a more stringent lockdown, a section of drivers is also planning to go back to their villages. “Earnings have gone down as compared to pre-Covid times. Besides, we have already incurred huge losses during the last lockdown and fear we may end up in another crisis if there is a similar lockdown announced for the state,” said a driver, who requested anonymity.
With business hitting a low, auto drivers have become more pliable, says Shoma Dey. “It was a pleasant surprise as three drivers asked me and were willing to take me to my destination,” she added.