Commuters in Kolkata had a harrying time for the second day at a stretch on Tuesday as yellow taxis went off the road, joining the online cabs which had called a 48-hour strike to press for a host of demands.
Passengers seemed out of their wits in busy areas like Howrah station, Sealdah station and Esplanade, as the AITUC-affiliated Kolkata Taxi Operaors' Union called a 24-hour strike, adding to the people's woes due to the disruption of services by West Bengal Online Cab Operators' Guild (WBOCOG) and an organisation of luxury taxis providing services to the government offices.
"I came here from north Bengal to give a surprise to my parents and myself got a surprise. I heard about the strike but had no idea that none of the taxis would be plying on the road," a passenger at Sealdah station said.
A group of protesters got hold of a taxi driver and tried to damage his car near Wellington street but he managed to escape with his vehicle after police intervened.
"We are protesting against the wrongs done against the taxi drivers. We want to draw the attention of the Transport Department, as we have written to them about our problem of not having proper stops to take passengers on board. Taxi drivers are often slapped with fines for stopping our cabs," the AITUC-affiliated Kolkata Taxi Operators' Union's General Secretary Nawal Kishor Shrivastav said.
He said they have submitted a deputation at the police headquarters in Lalbazar.
Nearly 13,500 members of the union and other cab drivers had joined the strike, resulting in 22,000 yellow taxis going off roads.
Already, more than 25,000 app-cabs and luxury taxis haven't been plying on road since July 1.
"We have been demanding the reduction of commission taken by the aggregators as the entire maintenance and expenditure is borne by the cab owners. Also, we want them to revive the IDs of the drivers that have been blocked without any reason," Indranil Banerjee, convenor of West Bengal Online Cab Operators' Guild (WBOCOG) said.
State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday had said that the government will make arrangements of additional buses to ensure the commuters did not face any problem.