Hyderabad: It was a development that Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) authorities had not reckoned with. Contrary to their expectations, the bandh call given by TSRTC, cab and autorickshaw drivers did not in any way add to Metro Rail revenue. The expected rush also was far from heartening.
In fact, the footfall has come down by 50,000 when compared to the average weekend footfall, which touched a record 3.10 lakh during the ongoing strike period. It was comparatively low during weekends due to holidays for the IT sector. Responding to the bandh call even Intermediate, degree and engineering colleges declared a holiday.
Meanwhile, many seemed to have defied the call as cabs were available during the day and, most surprisingly, without any price surge. However, although only few autorickshaws plied, those who did demanded exorbitant amounts from the commuters.
HMRL authorities maintained that the demand was normal and like any other weekend.
Mr Bharat Kavi, a regular metro commuter, said that there was hardly any rush on the Khairatabad metro station to Miyapur metro station. He said that the frequency was around 9 minutes and no standing passengers or rush was seen even 4.30 pm.
“Today’s Metro journey was hassle-free. I hope this remains so every day of the week,”he added.
Echoing the sentiments, HMRL managing director N.V.S. Reddy said, “Passenger figures were normal today. You see, apart from the IT sector, it was a holiday for educational institutions. The projected figure by the end of the day will be around 2.6 lakh”.
Autorickshaw commuters were not saved from torture, though.
Mr S. Kiran Babu, who takes an autorickshaw from Tarnaka to Secunderabad railway station, said they demanded Rs 250 while some demanded Rs 400 for the same distance.
“I had to reach Secunderabad railway station to catch a train to Warangal. The journey was decided around 3: 45 pm and I had to reach the station by 4: 15 pm. The first auto driver demanded Rs 250 which I rejected. However, another driver demanded Rs 400. Left with no choice, I took the auto to reach the railway station.” Mr Kiran added.
Ms N. Nalini, who commutes from Kukatpally to Secunderabad said, “Cabs were available within two minutes even at 9 am and 6 pm. Quite surprisingly, there were no surges even though it rained in the evening.”...