'Auto helpline offers no help'

The toll free number, which was supposed to bring respite to Navi Mumbai passengers from errant auto drivers is proving to be of no help

The tall claims by transport authorities, who launched a telephone helpline for passengers to register complaints against errant auto drivers refusing fares is of little assistance in Navi Mumbai.

After commuters lodge their complaints on the toll free number there is no appropriate method by which the authorities can track the complaints. The helpline was started two years back for commuters in the satellite city. In some instances, calls are unanswered, leaving the citizens furious. 

 "What is the use of the helpline, if you cannot register a complaint against any auto rickshaw driver? The helpline number has been started, as it is not possible for commuters to go all the way to RTO office to lodge a complaint when auto drivers violate rules. Whenever we try to lodge complaints against the drivers by calling the helpline, the calls are unanswered," said Alok Kothalekar, IT professional from Belapur.

Deputy Regional Transport Officer at Vashi RTO Sanjay Raut refutes
passenger claims that the helpline is of no use.

However, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) authorities are citing frivolous reasons in their inability to maintain the helpline. Sanjay Raut, deputy regional transport officer, Navi Mumbai RTO denied the charges that the RTO does not respond to calls on the helpline number. "An official of our office is assigned to answer calls.

At times, he cannot answer the calls, as he is occupied with other work. However, in the last six months, we have received total 19 complaints through our helpline number and we have fined 7 errant auto drivers who have refused to follow RTO rules," said Raut. 

 "In addition, unnecessary calls from citizens are increasing the workload for the RTO officials. People use this helpline number to ask about licenses, vehicle registration and traffic rules. The helpline is basically meant for registering complaint against errant auto drivers and other vehicles found violating RTO rules. Ever since the helpline has got published in newspapers, we have been receiving calls from commuters from Navi Mumbai and Mumbai as well. Commuters from Mumbai call us to know helpline number of RTOs in Mumbai. So we cannot respond to each call," said an RTO official.

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