On day 35 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign errant drivers kept snubbing short distance fares, ferrying four passengers per trip to make a fast buck
Place: Sion Junction
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 3
Amar Chaudhary said, "I wanted to go to Bandra Kurla Complex, but the auto driver refused. Refusals at this spot have become a routine."
Mohammad Yasin said, "With no one to rein them, these rogue drivers are running amok, causing inconvenience to the travellers. I was in a hurry to reach Bharat Nagar in Kurla, but despite standing at an authorised rickshaw stand, the driver refused to ferry me."
Vimal Gotyal said, "I had to go to PMG Colony in Dharavi. With each passing day, getting a rickshaw from this spot is becoming difficult."
Auto Drivers Speak
Tanaji Mandhare: "At times we don't get a return fare from BKC. Hence I refused to ply the passenger after he approached me for a fare to the area."
Surendra Kumar Shukla, who refused to ply from an authorised auto stand, said, "I refused the passenger because he wanted to go nearby. There is no point in waiting for so long and ferry a short distance fare."
Anwar Hussain Ansari: "The passenger wanted to go to Dharavi, which is close by. We can't afford to waste gas on short distance fares."
Text: Mukul Pawar
Place: Borivli Station (E)
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 1
Swarna Raman said, "Finding a rickshaw that is ready to ply you to a short distance during peak hours is next to impossible. Drivers here, are more keen on plying those alighting from long-distance trains, as it gives them a opportunity to make a lot of money at one go."
Swati Nayak said, "I often get into arguments with these rickshaw drivers over their reluctance to ply short distance fares. However, these drivers unite and start arguing with the passengers."
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar
Place: BARC Junction
Time: 5.30 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 1
Santosh Nair said, "The driver halted after I waved at him. However, he sped away the moment I told
him that I wanted to go to Cheetah Camp. I think he was waiting for a fare to a destination that he wanted to go to."
Auto Driver Speaks
Vinay Sawant: "Since I had recently serviced my auto, I wasn't keen on ferrying a long distance fare. I was on my way to Mankhurd station and halted the vehicle when the passenger waved at me hoping that he too wanted to go in the same direction."
Spot of bother
At Trombay, it was observed that the drivers were plying more than three passengers at one time.
According to Pramod Yadav, one such driver, who was caught for plying four passengers, "Making money at the end of the day is what matters. With so many autos around, it is not possible to make a large profit. Ferrying more than three passengers earns us Rs 30 per journey and we try to make at least 10 such rounds with a return fare a day. Though the cops catch us daily, we can't stop it, as we make good money in less time."
When questioned, an RTO official, stated that he was clueless about autos flouting the norms.
Text: Faisal G Tandel
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