Most individuals were out in cars and on motorcycles on shopping trips, while others stepped out to visit friends and relatives in housing complexes where regulation of vistors was lax. Traffic police continued to take action for lockdown violations though and impounded more than 500 vehicles, many of them autos and taxis, which are allowed to ply only for essential work or carrying people working in frontline operations.
Kharghar resident Rekha Krishnan said she had not visited her mother for over two-and-half months due to the lockdown and was eager to see her. “My mother is ailing and lives in Mahim. Now that an e-pass is not required for travel within Mumbai, my husband and I took out our car to check on her health,” she said.
Suburban resident Nilesh Thakkar said he and his family went out for a spin in their SUV as they were missing the sights and sounds of the city. “There was heavy traffic though,” said Thakkar.
Heavy movement was seen on Babasaheb Ambedkar Road at Byculla, Lalbaug flyover, EEH at Vikhroli, Dadar, WEH at Kalanagar, Wadala, Nagpada and JJ Marg. Roads being repaired at Nariman Point led to backlogs on the sea-facing stretch. “There was a huge number of private vehicles, bikes and autos on roads on Friday and we expect even more on Monday when offices open,” said transport commissioner Shekhar Channe.
Several autos seen plying illegally, 214 impounded
Several autos were out ferrying people for non-essentials on Friday, though this is against the rules.
“We are without earnings for the past two months and so we are all plying customers now,” said Sharad Sonawane, an auto owner from Mulund. Under the rules, only kaalipeeli taxis are allowed to ply passengers to and from railway termini while autos can ferry citizens for essential services.
“The maximum vehicles impounded on Friday were autorickshaws (214), followed by motorcycles (196) for violations,” said Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner, traffic. Other vehicles impounded included 27 taxis and 93 private cars.
Several private car owners could be seen driving down to garages and service centres to get their vehicles checked and serviced.
“It took me a long time just to get my car started. I hadn’t moved it from the parking lot since Janta Curfew. It was a sight as the handyman who cleans vehicles in my society hasn’t been allowed to enter,” said Nischay Modi, a chartered accountant.
Motorists also included shop owners and their staff as establishments reopened on Friday.
Sources in the RTO said several youngsters zipped around on motorcycles, catching up with friends or going on rides.