Bengaluru, Karnataka: The recent strike by transport unions in Bengaluru has thrown Kempegowda International Airport into chaos, leaving travelers facing a host of difficulties, from exhausting treks with baggage to exorbitant charges by unauthorized taxis. Even former cricket superstar Anil Kumble couldn’t escape the turmoil, opting for public transport due to the cab shortage.

The strike, led by airport taxi drivers, centers on several demands, including the establishment of an Indira Canteen at the airport and the introduction of a “one airport one fare” system – proposing a fixed rate for airport travel.

One of the most talked-about incidents during the strike was Anil Kumble’s experience. Unable to find a cab, the cricket legend resorted to taking the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s (BMTC) Vayu Vajra bus. He tweeted about his journey, saying, “Took a BMTC bus from the airport today.” Kumble’s experience underscores how the strike has affected even well-known personalities.

To alleviate the strike’s impact, BMTC increased its bus services to and from the airport, providing some relief to stranded passengers. A viral video showed white-board taxis overcharging passengers at the airport’s arrival zone, with fares ranging from nearly Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 for a trip to Banashankari, a route typically costing around Rs 1,000.

Travelers from all walks of life found themselves caught in the strike’s crossfire. Ajay Singh, a tech professional living in Whitefield, had to rely on a neighbor’s car to reach the airport for his 6 pm flight to Lucknow. Singh expressed his concerns, stating, “The absence of airport taxis due to the strike can be really stressful and uncertain. Additionally, there aren’t many BMTC buses between Whitefield and the airport, which added to my worries. I had to ask my neighbor for help.”

Even senior citizens had their share of challenges. An elderly couple heading to Canada had to endure a one-kilometer walk to the Jayanagar bus station while carrying heavy luggage. Parvati Rudrawadi, a 60-year-old resident of Jayanagar, shared her ordeal, saying, “Despite the transport strike, we tried to book a cab but couldn’t find one. Eventually, we decided to walk the 1 km to the Jayanagar bus stand with all our luggage to catch the airport bus.”

Passenger Urmil Bhavsar acknowledged the hardships of the strike but also expressed gratitude to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for providing bus services during the turmoil. On social media, Bhavsar wrote, “Today’s auto and cab strikes in Bengaluru made it nearly impossible for me to reach the airport on time. A big thank you to @KSRTC_Journeys for their bus service during the strike! #BengaluruBandh.”

The strike by transport unions in Bengaluru has not only disrupted the daily routines of airport travelers but has also highlighted the urgent need for more efficient and dependable transportation options to and from Kempegowda International Airport. As passengers grapple with uncertainty and inconvenience, they hope for a swift resolution that addresses their concerns and ensures smoother journeys in the future