Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Commuters sweat it out at airport, stations

Kolkata: Passengers flying in and out of the city had a harrowing time on Monday as a group of app-cab drivers held pickets outside the entry-exit points of the airport and stopped every commercial vehicle that tried to enter or leave the premises carrying passengers. Those who agreed to their terms were asked to drop the passengers, suspend services and join them, and those who didn’t and argued, were assaulted and had their mobiles and vehicles damaged by the protesters.
The rampage went on for the better part of Monday morning and such was the impact that by afternoon, app cabs vanished from the airport’s app-cab zone and the surrounding areas, leaving flyers at the mercy of pre-paid taxis and touts. Those which stood there, went offline.

“I had no clue about the app-cab strike and tried to book one the moment I came out of the airport. But there was none. I stood in the queue for a pre-paid taxi for more than 45 minutes before I finally managed to get one,” said Sangeeta Jaiswal, who came to Kolkata from Delhi.

While queues outside the pre-paid counter started growing, cops struggled to bring in taxis from outside to fill in the void created by the absence of app cabs.

“In the morning, I was taking a passenger to Birati and the men attacked my car just outside the airport. I tried to make them understand that I was not driving an app cab but a commercial vehicle that takes passengers on rent but the men didn’t listen and broke my car glasses,” said Vicky Shaw, a car rental driver.
02/07/19 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India
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