Lockdown rules restricting the number and types of passengers that taxis and auto rickshaws can carry in the city should be lifted from July 1, the Mumbai Taximens Union (MTU) said on Saturday.
In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the MTU said that around 1.5 lakh taxi drivers and over three lakh rickshaw drivers in the city were facing a financial crisis.
As per a May 31 order, which allowed taxis and rickshaws to resume plying as part of easing of coronavirus lockdown, these vehicles can carry only those who are providing essential services and only two at a time.
A L Quadros, general secretary of MTU, said that taxi and rickshaw drivers do not have other sources of livelihood.
"They earn on a daily basis by driving taxis and rickshaws. They have not received any financial help from the state government. Their families are starving. They cannot pay their children's fees," the trade union leader said.
The government has allowed businesses and offices to resume functioning and their employees are the chief users of taxis and rickshaws, he said.
"Very few essential services passengers are hiring their vehicles," Quadros said.
Drivers are also facing harassment from the traffic police, who are giving favourble treatment to app-based taxi or rickshaw services and tourist vehicles, he alleged.
No action is being taken against cab aggregators for violating the May 31 order, he claimed.
Around 45,000 taxis and over two lakh auto rickshaws operate in Mumbai.