Around 1800 taxis had gone on a flash strike at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at Sahar in Andheri East due to the highhandedness of GVK restraining taxis to park at their parking slots. The main demands of Cool Cabs include creating additional prepaid stand near T2 International Airport. They also want exclusive taxi stands for parking taxis as current space allotted to them is proving to be inadequate. The flash strike called by cabbies had caused huge inconvenience to passengers as many of them remained stranded outside airport for few hours. Some of them had to rely on autorickshaws for reaching their destination. Those passengers who tried to book aggregator cabs were finding it difficult to hire their services due to rising demand on account of the strike.
When AV spoke to Former Congress MLA Krishna Hegde he said, “Taxi men have protested for allotting more space for parking taxis outside the airport. Right now around 6,000 taxis are operating near the airport. The transport department is planning to start a computerised numbering system for picking up passengers near the airport. Airport authorities want to reduce the existing parking space reserved for taxis and convert them into a cargo hub. If this plan takes off then taxi drivers will face shortage of space to park their vehicles. Already, they are finding it difficult to turn their vehicles due to dearth of space.”
“Often chaos is witnessed outside the airport due to space crunch. It becomes difficult for passengers to board and alight taxis due to excessive crowds and vehicles near the airport. GVK officials often harass taxi drivers when they park their taxis outside the airport. We have demanded for a second prepaid stand and a permanent parking lot for all taxis,” he added.
“Taxi drivers had protested against the shifting of parking space allotted to them outside airport. They had raised their voice against the inadequate parking space near the airport. However, the matter will be resolved after the meeting between taxi drivers and joint commissioner of police Deven Bharti. Already, there is a plan to streamline the parking system and passenger pick facilities which will make their journey comfortable,” said AL Quadros Mumbai Taxi union leader.
Two months back, Shiv Sena had held a protest outside Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport under the leadership of Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab and forcibly closed down a collection plaza for levying an entry fee of Rs 130 from vehicles entering the airport. Parab had earlier demanded that GVK group which operates the airport is creating huge hardships for commuters by asking them to pay toll amount even though many vehicles are not parked near the airport. He also had threatened that if GVK doesn’t withdraw toll levy then Sena will protest in its own style.