Blame the floods, not us: Autos
Hell-bent on refusing to ply short distances, rickshaw drivers point fingers at everything under the sun, even as traffic constables nab repeat offenders
Location: Outside Andheri station (East)
Time: 9 am - 11 am
Offenders caught: 13
Commuters speak: dhukar Birje, a former BMC corporator, said, "It has become a habit for autos to refuse to ply short distances. They must mend their ways as it causes inconvenience to the public."
Sandeep Pudhalkar, BMC officer, said, "The drivers want to ply on routes that they want to go and not where the passengers would like to go. They must realise that they work for the public."
Auto drivers speak: Krishnaprasad Gupta has been caught twice in the last four days for refusing to ply passengers outside the Andheri (E) station. Constable Motiram More who fined Gupta on both occasions said, "He is a habitual offender and refuses to mend his ways."
Loose Screws: An auto driver came up with the excuse that a screw in his rickshaw tyre had come loose. When the constable called his bluff, the driver began cursing heaven and earth for his woes
Deviprasad Mishra, after being caught for refusing to ply a passenger, claimed that a screw in his rickshaw tyre had loosened owing to which his vehicle couldn't move. In order to verify Mishra's claims, constable Ravindra Jadhav decided to drive the rickshaw.
Jadhav was able to drive the vehicle steadily for about 500 m, thus falsifying the claims made by Mishra.
Realising he was caught, Mishra created a scene and said, "Rickshaw drivers cannot refuse fare even if they want to take a tea break or go to the toilet.
If the passenger feels that the fare shown on the meter is more, he starts accusing us for meter tampering. It's always the driver who is victimised."
Spot of Bother
A few passengers alleged that some rickshaw drivers who parked vehicles next to the official stand near the bus depot demanded extra money for offering them to ply without making them stand in line. When MiD DAY approached these drivers, they accepted to take the passenger.
Accordingly, the traffic cops fined rickshaw drivers Indrayan Singh and Vaman Prabhu for accepting fares out of the stand.
Soon the two drivers along with their accomplices called up the Andheri Rickshaw Drivers' Union leader Subhash Sawant to the spot.
He said, "Only a few drivers who refuse to ply and everyone gets a bad name for it. The innocent drivers are the ones who are victimised by the passengers and traffic police."
Sawant added, "I want to appeal to the RTO officials to start another rickshaw stand near the railway station. I assure you that such refusal cases will come to an end."
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar
Pic: Mahesh Chafe
All Gas: Auto drivers kept refusing fares for short-distances and blamed their empty tanks for not ferrying passengers
Location: Kalanagar, Bandra (E)
Time: 10.30 am - 12.30 pm, 5-7 pm
Offenders caught: 12
Commuters Speak: Meera Prakash said, "It's not only the drivers, but the fault of the commuters too. Autos are very organised at Bandra station, with a queue and sharing facility, but it becomes a problem when people jump the queue leaving senior citizens like us waiting." Kamal Ranga said, "We have to catch a train from Bandra Terminus, but none of the rickshaws are willing to ply. There should be proper rickshaw stands everywhere, and police assistance. These drivers act smart and ply only to the longer distances."
Auto drivers Speak: Jaikishan Thakur said, "I did not ply to a certain area as the roads are in real bad condition after the rains yesterday. If BMC repairs the potholes on the road, I am willing to ply anywhere. I would like the commuters to pay for any damage that happens to my auto during their journey."
Vijay Tiwari said, "I am done for the day and was going home, so I thought I will ply only towards that side. This is my bad luck that I got caught."
Text: Dazy Verma,
Pics: Datta Kumbhar
Water on his plans: Using the unseasonal thundershowers to their advantage, autos refused fares citing waterlogging and in certain areas
Place: Nehru Nagar, Kurla
Time: 11 am - 1 pm
Offenders Caught: 3
Auto drivers cribbed that Kurla station was in a low lying region and was prone to waterlogging.
Commuter speak: Vatshal Vora, a std X student returning home after school, said, "I always travel by bus
to Sion. However after standing for more than 15 minutes I approached the rickshaws, but they refused. The auto stand has long queues, but no one wants to ply to Sion as the area near Suman Nagar is congested."
Auto driver speak: Roshan Singh, a rickshaw driver said, "I took a fare from Ghatkopar to Nehru Nagar, where I faced problems after the meter stopped working. So I refused passengers."
Text: Faisal G Tandel,
Pic: Atul Kamble
Usual suspects: Auto drivers were caught refusing short-distance fares outside Ghatkopar station
Time: 5:30 pm-6:30 pm
Offenders caught: 2
Commuter speak: Parshiram Chavde (72), said, "I want to go to Pereirawadi. Though I am a senior citizen these auto drivers have no pity and refuse. Thankfully the traffic police are here and they helped me get a rickshaw."
Auto driver speak: Mehtal Shaikh said, "I did not refuse, the passenger only asked me the name of a hotel. But the traffic police thought I was refusing."
Text: Maleeva Rebello,
Pic: Sayed Sameer Abedi