HYDERABAD: An eerie calm prevailed over bus depots in the city, where there were more policemen than passengers. At the usually busy Jubilee Bus Station near Secunderabad, there was only one bus going to Nizamabad at 3.20 pm. Its driver, hired by RTC, waited for about 20 minutes to fill all the seats in the bus.
There were very few passengers at the station. One of them had come to visit his cousin in Patancheru. “Though I knew there is a strike, I could not postpone the trip. I have been waiting here for an hour. I do not have money for a taxi ride till Khammam,” he said. There were hardly any customers at the eateries outside the bus station.
At MGBS, the scene was no different. Regularly touted as the largest bus station of its kind in Asia, it saw very little activity. Many buses were seen parked inside it. A similar scene was visible at Rathifile, where there were next to no buses. People getting off trains had to depend on autorickshaws.
The Telangana Taxi Drivers JAC, too, had given a call for an “indefinite” strike. The strike was largely unsuccessful as many Ola and Uber drivers were seen plying their vehicles. However, many of them stated there was hardly any business for them, as many people chose to stay at home. One Ola driver at Chikkadpally said, “I thought there would be many customers and I could make a little extra money today. But I have not yet made even the regular trips I make every day.”
Asked how many cab services were run in the city during the day, a representative of Ola said that as a matter of policy, the company does not share this information with anyone. Uber ignored requests for information.
Meanwhile, autorickshaw drivers had a great day. Late afternoon, a driver at Rathifile near Secunderabad railway station said he found many customers who had just gotten off their trains. Auto drivers at places like Lakdikapul, Ameerpet and Himayat-nagar said business was rather slow for them on the day
Crisis at airport
While the taxi drivers’ bandh was unsuccessful in most parts of the city, it caused some problems at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. A representative of the Taxi Drivers’ Joint Action Committee said the organisation had focused its efforts at the airport for making the bandh successful. They actively dissuaded drivers from plying their vehicles. As a result, many travellers could not find Uber and OLA trips into the city. Many travellers depended on prepaid taxis and dial-a-cab services, such as Meru and Sky.
However, by the evening, regular cab services had resumed.
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