While more than 45,000 auto rickshaws ply on the city roads daily, the number of authorised auto stands is a mere 940. This implies that about 50 three-wheelers are expected to make use of a single facility, which seems impossible considering the limited room and heavy traffic on the roads.
The PMC plans to delineate the actual space near auto stands in next three months, where the vehicles can be parked without disrupting the traffic flow. PMC Traffic Planner Sriniwas Bonala assured that work on demarcating spaces for auto stands would be over by October.
Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Arun Yeola said, “We are willing to increase the number of authorised auto stands. Our committee comprising RTO officials, traffic police and PMC officials would verify demands by auto unions and take decision accordingly. On several occasions, locals and traders object to establishment of auto stands in their areas. Rude drivers is the bone of contention. So, while authorising an auto stand, we have to take local factors into consideration, apart from keeping in mind the space available on the roads.”
At the recently held traffic advisory meeting, representative of Rickshaw Panchayat Anand Belamkar asked PMC officials and traffic police to look into the issue. “About half of the auto stands don’t have boards mentioning that they are authorised by RTO. If PMC officials actually start demarcating auto stands, this would be the first such instance in the last 40 years,” he said.
Why authorise auto stands
Passengers have complained that auto drivers operating from unauthorised stands are rowdy and there was no grievance redress mechanism available to them by complaining against errant drivers. RTO authorised auto stands display a board on which the registration numbers of sanctioned autos are mentioned, apart from contact numbers of RTO and traffic police. So, commuters will benefit if the number of authorised auto stands in the city goes up.
Did you know?
This year the traffic police took action against over 6,500 auto drivers for various kinds of violations and collected a total fine exceeding Rs 7.3 lakh
No of auto rickshaws in the city
No of authorised auto stands at present
Most of the drivers at the auto stands cooperate with us. The RTO-approved stands with boards mentioning complaint numbers are of great help to commuters. It gives me a sense of security and safety while boarding an auto rickshaw.
— Mrudul Ganpule, IT professional
I frequently travel short distances. There’s no authorised auto stand in my area and I have to rely on drivers stopping midway. Authorities concerned should ensure that there is adequate number of authorised stands for commuters.
— Akshaya Soman-Bhatkhande, service