More than 2 lakh autos will be parked on roads in Bengaluru today in protest against bike taxis.
Autorickshaw drivers in Bengaluru went on strike on Monday to protest against the bike taxi service operating in Bengaluru. The Bengaluru Auto Drivers Association says Rapido and other bike taxi services are operating “illegally” in the city. Over two lakh autorickshaws are expected to be on the roads till midnight during the one-day strike. Autorickshaw drivers will march from Bengaluru City Railway Station to Chief Minister Basavaraj’s doll house. Unions have long been demanding a ban on the operation of bike taxis as they affect the livelihood of auto drivers.
“We will observe a 24-hour strike from Sunday midnight. Our protest is against the illegal operation of bike taxis in the city,” said Adarsh Auto and Taxi Drivers Association president M. Manjunath. The union has one of the largest memberships of autorickshaw drivers in the Karnataka state capital.
The state transport department considers bike taxis illegal, but their drivers still ply city roads with impunity, he said.
Mr. Manjunath also said that 21 autorickshaw drivers’ associations have united against bike taxis.
Meanwhile, people living in Bengaluru said autorickshaw drivers were charging more for short distances due to the strike and slammed the move.
“Autos full of 6 people in residential areas. Seen at Vijaya Bank layout. 200 per passenger for 3 km. Criminal extortion. What kind of strike is this?” asked one Twitter user.
“All autos are on strike in Koramangala today, nowhere to run. Union people all around,” said another.
Recently, a video of an autorickshaw driver allegedly using such services illegally smashing a bike taxi driver’s mobile phone at a major intersection in the city went viral, according to a PTI report.
Autorickshaw drivers and bike taxis compete for space on Bengaluru’s roads to get customers.
Bike taxi services in Bengaluru are permitted under the Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021, which was launched to improve first and last mile connectivity, promote environment-friendly transport solutions and ease urban mobility.