New Delhi Delhi-NCR’s markets are inundated with shoppers, who flock to these places for crazy deals and giveaways this holiday season. And after feeling fulfilled after a good trading session, shoppers come out of these bustling markets to face the nightmare of navigating through the crowds and getting in the cab back home. Holding countless shopping bags, as soon as the inhabitants pick up their phones to find their taxi drivers, the fight begins. While shoppers find it difficult to lug their bags around, taxi drivers ask them to walk out of markets so they can easily maneuver their vehicles.
âAfter hours of festive shopping in Kamala Nagar, I booked a taxi home. Three drivers canceled taxis, I guess due to the rush of the festival, and 15 minutes later a driver arrived. But less than halfway through the trip we got stuck in a huge traffic jam and the taxi driver asked me and my sister to get off and refused to continue the trip even though that meant he should have paid a penalty out of his pocket, âsays Princy Malhotra, a student at Delhi University, who finally found another taxi after 30 minutes of waiting on a crowded road and was only able to get home. ‘after an hour and a half. âOn a normal day, my house is only 30 minutes from the market,â she adds.
And the story is the same throughout the city, which has led to locals and taxi drivers alike. Kritika Kaushik, a resident of Pitampura, says that while shopping at the block market in Grand Kailash M with her mother-in-law, the taxi driver “took her time to reach the pickup point”, after a driver has already refused to go to his pick-up location. âComing back from the market in the GK M block, a taxi driver accepted our trip and demanded that we get out to board the taxi. We had shopped so much that it was difficult to transport it all, but we didn’t have a lot of choice. We asked him to wait only five to ten minutes to help him not get stuck in traffic. But he didn’t want to wait and started having temper tantrums. I didn’t take my car to avoid the stress of parking, but this taxi drama was too much to handle, âshe recalls.
Renu Mittal, a housewife from Paschim Vihar, says: âI wanted to go shopping at Sadar Bazar and took a taxi, but the driver refused to go any further as soon as he noticed the rush on the road. Marlet. Of course, there were a lot of people, but how can he say at a distance of 1 km: “Madam, it is better to hoga agar aap yahi utar jao aur walk kar lo market tak”. Agar mujhe pata hota aapko yahan aana hai toh trip accept hi nahi karta! ‘ My friend and I had no choice but to get off and walk. We took a taxi for our convenience, but it was no use. Then, on the way back, we decided to take an automatic rickshaw. It was a much better decision.
Taxi drivers have their own set of woes, especially during the holiday season when the roads are crowded. Santosh, a taxi driver, estimates that out of 10 trips, at least six are to or from a market. He says: âWomen come back after shopping or want to go to Karol Bagh or Lajpat or Chandni Chowk. And market mein leke jana ya wahan se nikalna koi mazaak nahi hai! People insist, ‘Bhaiya, market ke andar aao’ by aap batao itne rush mein kaise andar tak jayenge … isiliye cancel karna padta hai. Thoda toh unko bhi location se aage aana padega na! â
Amit, who works as a partner-driver with a taxi aggregator, believes: âKitni baar ladai hoti hai isi baat pe. By sabko lagta hai ki jo taxi book kar raha hai wohi theek hai. Koi nahi sochta ki sometimes we have to turn around for two kilometers because people have difficulty crossing the road. And it all gets worse by the time of the festival. But humein toh apna kaam karna hai. People do not understand our difficulty in passing through a bhari hui market. Runners often ask us to stop here and there during the ride so that we can run errands, but when we need to refuel CNG, tab sab nakhrae karte hain aur darate hain ki low ratings from deng.
âIs sab se toh achha hai ki tyoharon ke time pe outstation ki booking mil jayeâ, explains Sachin Gautam, another taxi driver, and adds: âMarket ki galiyon mein phas jaana kisko pasand hai! Vaise toh yahan 12 mahine rush rehta hai, but Diwali aur Bhai Dooj is pehle haalat aur kharab hoti hai.
Recounting an unpleasant experience, he shares: âAbhi ek ne cab book kari, and getting inside the market obviously took a while. Jab tak main fight kar ke pahuncha, horseman does not cancel karke dusri cab bula li. How unfair! Humare nu mein toh koi sochta hi nahi hai.
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