Autos, cabs, buses off Bengaluru roads to support strike by private transport vehicle operators

Most autorickshaws, cabs and private buses stayed off roads in Bengaluru on September 11 in response to a call by Federation of Karnataka State Private Transport Association. It is estimated that around 7 lakh transport vehicles operated by private persons or companies, that are part of 32 unions, will stay off the roads today across Karnataka. The unions want the Karnataka government to fulfil their list of 28 demands.

Due to non-availability of transport options, commuters were struggling to reach their offices, schools and colleges. 

While some schools had declared a holiday, some others, especially in the Central Business District (CBD), closed their doors after assessing the situation in the morning. This led to a lot of confusion among parents who went to school to drop their children in their own vehicles. Many private companies asked their employees to work from home.  

Although the police had given permission for a rally only on the stretch between Sangolli Rayanna Circle and Freedom Park, protestors gathered in large groups in various parts of Bengaluru, like Madiwala, Electronics City, Silk Board junction, Yeshwantpur and Goraguntepalya, before walking towards Freedom Park.

The police are making arrangements to send protestors in batches of 20 to Freedom Park in police vehicles instead of a big rally. Traffic snarls have been observed in Majestic, Seshadri Road, K.R. Circle, Madiwala and on Residency Road, as thousands of drivers have gathered on the streets.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy was expected to reach Freedom Park by 11.30 a.m.  

There were report of stones and eggs being pelted at cabs and autorickshaws that were plying on the roads. At some places, the tyres of the vehicles were punctured. Police could be seen providing protection to drivers who chose to take their cabs and autos out at important locations, like the railway station and airport. 

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses became the main option for thousands of commuters, especially for those who are looking to travel between the city and the airport. BMTC is running 100 extra buses to the airport. Namma Metro trains were packed with more commuters than usual.  

Bike taxi apps reported higher than usual demand and prices.

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