After arguing for nearly three hours, passenger finally gives in and pays up after the police intervene
It appears that the 'winds of change' are here! All this while we have been hearing how cunning auto drivers tamper with their meters to fleece poor passengers or refuse to hand over the change and so on. However, here's an exceptional case, where a commuter refused to pay the rickshaw driver, stating that he was broke. While the matter was resolved after police intervention, it took three hours for the driver to secure his legitimate fare, making him lose more than what he earned.
Mohammad Shaikh, a businessman, who was carrying a turmeric consignment worth Rs 10,000 from Thane to Ghatkopar, refused to pay auto driver Raju Pande Rs 50 for ferrying him from Thane to Mulund check naka. Shaikh told Pande that he didn't have any money on him, and would be able to pay him only after reaching his residence at Gaudevi in Ghatkopar.
Shaikh said, "I had already informed the driver that I was broke and would only be able to pay him once I reached home. But now, he is arguing with me. It's just that I forgot to carry my wallet today. The rickshaw driver is simply creating a scene."
Explaining his side of the story, Pande stated, "My rickshaw is from Thane and I cannot enter Mumbai limits. I had informed the passenger about it and he assured me that he would take another rickshaw from Mulund to Ghatkopar. But now he's refusing to pay. In the rickshaw he kept on mumbling something about him not having any tea, but he never mentioned that he was broke."
A group of rickshaw drivers, who had gathered around the arguing duo, suggested that Shaikh should give Pande turmeric worth the fare so that the driver could sell it and get his money. However, Shaikh flatly refused.
Citing that there was no solution in site and the duo had almost come to blows, Mulund police was called in to settle the dispute. According to O Rane, an official from Mulund police station, "We have seized Mohammad's turmeric consignment, and will take him to his residence so that he can clear Pande's fare. We have received several complaints from rickshaw drivers that commuters travelling from Thane to Mulund, refuse to pay saying that they are broke. However, until today, we have never caught anyone, Shaikh is the first case."
The great loss
Though the matter was resolved after police intervention, it took three hours for Pande to get his money. Expressing his grief, Pande stated, "My shift is for just 8 hours, and three hours have been wasted here. People always blame the autos, but commuters also create problems because they know that the police will support them."
The fare that the passenger refused to pay