Nation Current Affairs 10 Sep 2016 Karnataka bandh: Car ...

Karnataka bandh: Carpooling, rentals come to rescue

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RANJANI MADHAVAN
Published Sep 10, 2016, 3:41 am IST
Updated Sep 10, 2016, 6:47 am IST
Activists taking out a procession in Bengaluru on Friday in protest against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. (Photo: Satish B.)
 Activists taking out a procession in Bengaluru on Friday in protest against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. (Photo: Satish B.)

Bengaluru: Taxis and mini-buses refused to ply on the city roads, though some found ways to work around the bandh on Friday.

“Thirteen of us from the office had booked a van to go to a resort in Bandipur. But the operator cancelled it because of the bandh. There was no refund for the accommodation, and each of us lost Rs 1,600,” said Mr Saral Kumar, employee of Standard Chartered Bank. A few found ways to work around the bandh. “I had booked a Zoom car earlier. It was costlier on Friday, but it was the only way to reach the airport," said Arpit, a student.

The other option that is relatively unheard of but is slowly gaining popularity is the Ride Share Bot service that can be used through Facebook. A carpooling service where people can coordinate and use a personal vehicle, auto or cab and split the fare with others.

“We built this bot that uses Facebook messenger. It helps people register on the same route, to connect and carpool. For example, two people travelling from Indiranagar to Koramangala can share a bike or auto," said Siddharth, one of the founders of Ride Share.

Making hay.... Cab, auto drivers fleece commuters
 Autorickshaw and cab drivers fleeced commuters dry on Friday as the city shut completely because of the bandh. The minimum fare for a distance of one kilometre was Rs 100, as the drivers maintained that Kannada activists were not allowing any vehicle to ply on the roads. In some places, autorickshaws and taxis were attacked by the activists for not staying off the road.

Mr Krishnaswamy, who had to attend a seminar on laser therapy in a hotel in Rajajinagar, told DC that he had to pay Rs 600 for a distance of 5 km. “Driver cum owner of the taxi was ready to take me to Hotel Sheraton in Rajajinagar from Seshadripuram where I stay. For this 5 km trip, I was charged Rs 600,” he said.

Mr Krishnaswamy said that the taxi driver had to take a detour at two places to avoid flag waving Kannada activists. But as they covered the fourth kilometre, a group of protesters stopped the taxi and asked the driver where they were headed, and the driver replied that he was heading to the hospital. “I was wearing a dhoti and a plain shirt, and was carrying two small bags. I had in my hand a set of English dailies and a Tamil newspaper, which had Ms J. Jayalalithaa’s photo on the front page. Looking at the Tamil newspaper, two of the protesters became agitated and kept questioning me. We somehow managed to convince them and left the spot. During the entire episode, a police team was standing nearby and watching the drama, but failed to take any action against the protesters,” he said.

But in many places of the city, vehicle drivers said that Kannada activists threw stones on their vehicles. Ms Purnima Menon alleged that some protesters asked the vehicles to pass by, but only to throw stones at them.

It was a nightmarish experience for those who landed at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL), as no taxies or Vayu Vajra BMTC services were available. “I arrived from Mumbai to attend an interview. But there was no cab till 4 pm,” said Mr Sarvesh Tantri, a techie.

Thousands of passengers who landed in the city in the morning after travelling in late night buses and trains were stranded in different bus terminuses and train stations as no buses or autos were plying.

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Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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