On day 42 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, autos snub short distance fares by offering lame excuses; long distance fares enjoy the ride
Place: Borivli Station (East)
Time: 10 am-12 noon
Offenders caught: 4
Pralhad Dubey said, "Almost all auto drivers give lame excuses when they want to turn down a short distance fare. Hence, nowadays, I don't ask them whether they are interested in plying me or not, I just board the auto. And in case a driver tries to act smart, I tell him to take me to the nearest police station."
Jyoti Kamerkar said, "RT0 must issue permits to only a handful of autos for plying those alighting from out-station trains and wanting to go to far off places. By doing so, the others will be compelled to ferry short distance fares."
Auto drivers speak
On being caught for refusing to ply a short distance fare, auto driver Nandkumar Berma said, "My wife is in hospital and I have to attend to her."
Sandepan Gaikwad: "Generally, I don't refuse passengers. But since I was in a hurry to take a toilet break, I had to refuse one."
Fighter cock: The abusive passenger threatening constable Pansare for
booking the driver. Pic/MAHESH CHAFE
Spot of bother
Traffic constable Balasaheb Pansare, who apprehended auto driver Sunil Singh for refusing three short distance fares, had to deal with the errant passenger whom Singh readily agreed to ply because of his far off destination.
Expressing his sympathy with Singh, the passenger argued with Pansare to release Singh's licence, which the officer had confiscated. He even threatened Pansare of moving court against him in Singh's favour.
Unnerved by the passenger's outburst, Pansare countered him by stating that even he would produce the three passengers whom Singh had refused before he agreed to ply him and justify Singh's booking. Stupefied by Pansare's argument, the passenger backed off.
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar
Place: Govandi Station
Time: 9 am-11 am and 5 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 2
Maya S Sharma, who wanted to go to Panjara Pol near R K Studios, said, "The driver agreed to ply me, but only halfway. He said that he would drop me on the main road. Despite seeing that I had heavy machinery on me, he refused to ply me to my destination."
Shridar Anand Kolatkar, a senior citizen said, "I had taken my wife to Sion Hospital for her routine check up. When we got off at Govandi station and approached an auto for a fare to Lokmanya Nagar, the driver snubbed us. However, I am happy that the traffic officials caught the driver for refusing a senior citizen."
There's no escape: Traffic constables fining an errant auto driver who
refused a short distance fare, but readily agreed to ply a long distance
passenger. Pic/ Sameer Markande
Auto drivers speak
Dhanaji Barkhade: "The destination the passenger wanted to go was far off. Though I agreed to drop her on the main road, she refused. Hence I denied her."
Mohammed Shaikh: "I respect senior citizens, and the fare would have fetched me a good sum. However, I seldom ply long distance fares, hence I had to refuse the elderly couple. Please don't complaint against me, because retrieving the licence after confiscation is a frustrating task."
Text: Faisal G Tandel
Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10 am-11.45 am
Offenders caught: 5
Loretta D'Mello said, "These autorickshaw drivers have become a nuisance. Without even realising that passengers must be in a hurry, they just refuse short distance fares."
Ajinkya Desai said, "Stringent action needs to be initiated against the rogue drivers. Only then they'll realise the kind of inconvenience they have been causing to the passengers."
B Pinto said, "I'm in a hurry to reach Santacruz, but no driver is ready to ply me."
Buttering up? A driver reasoning with a traffic cop. Pic/ Datta Kumbhar
Auto drivers speak
Virendra Singh: "I wasn't interested in that fare. Have I committed a crime?"
Tahir Ismail Sheikh: "My vehicle seems to have developed a snag and I'm on my way to a garage to get it fixed."
Pintukumar Sav: "Please forgive me this time. I'll never refuse a passenger again."
Text: Vishakha Sonawane