The Maharashtra government has made it mandatory for only fully vaccinated people to use public transport like auto rickshaw and taxi; the unions claim that barely 65-70 percent of their drivers are vaccinated. Moreover there is no control over the share-autos and share-taxis running around the city making this matter of concern. This comes at a time when the new mutated Omicron variant is becoming a concern.
Ever since the lockdown restrictions were eased people have started using auto rickshaws and black and yellow taxis. The share-autos and share-taxis too have started operating city and suburbs. For instance at part of the suburbs the share autos are ferrying passengers from residential societies to the railway stations. Likewise the share-taxis are doing the same in commercial locations in island city.
These share auto rickshaws are ferrying more passengers than permissible and their unions themselves claim that there is little that can be done. There are 2.60 lakh auto rickshaws in Mumbai out of which majority are on road. “Close to 80 percent of auto rickshaws are plying. However we feel that only around 65-70 percent of drivers are vaccinated and there is no way to ascertain the exact numbers,” said Thampi Kurien, auto rickshaw union leader.
The union leaders claim that the drivers might not ask for vaccine certificates as it might irk the passengers and lose their fare. “The drivers would not be able to monitor whether or not the passengers are fully vaccinated or not. Moreover barely 70 percent of drivers are themselves fully vaccinated,” said A L Quadros, veteran taxi union leader. There are around 20000 odd black and yellow cabs in Mumbai of which close to 15000 or so are plying on road.