On day 26 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, errant autorickshaw drivers were penalised for refusing to ply senior citizens as well as physically challenged passengers; others simply refused to ferry short distance fares
Place: Malad Station (W)
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 10
Sharad Purohit, who commutes to office near Malad Post Office daily, said, "Despite noticing that I'm a handicap and have difficulty in walking, these errant rickshaw drivers lack courtesy. These drivers are now exploiting the 'half-metre down' rule to refuse short distance fares. The RTO must do something about this."
Mathew Fernandes said, "Every morning I waste nearly half an hour to find a auto that agrees to ply me to my office. Since people are in a hurry to reach their offices on time, drivers take advantage of this situation and charge extra."
Arif Khan said, "Most of the drivers refuse to ply to the newly opened Infiniti Mall on Malad Link Road in the mornings, stating that they do not get a return fare. However, if they agree to ply, they demand more money from the passengers."
Auto Drivers Speak
On being caught for the second time for refusing to ply a passenger, Jaypal Ratanam said, "My meter is running slow. Therefore, I took the decision of not taking a fare."
Ravindra Yadav, was fined by traffic cops after a passenger approached them complaining about him charging extra. When API Ashok Sawant, asked the driver about his demand, Yadav replied, "I thought that it was group of four that wanted to go to Interface, so I demanded extra."
Spot Of Bother
Driver Nandlal Thakur, who had earlier refused to ply three passengers to nearby destinations, readily agreed for a long distance fare. However, API Sawant, who had noticed his double standards, apprehended him.
Realising that he was caught red-handed, Thakur immediately asked the passenger on board to alight and pretended that the auto had developed a technical snag. However, when Sawant checked Thakur's rickshaw, his lie was unearthed.
Later, Thakur's licence was confiscated for refusing to ply the previous three passengers.
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar
Place: Kalanagar, Bandra (E)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 6
S S Bhatkar said, "Listening to drivers' refusals has now become a routine, so I have stopped reacting. These days, I leave 30 minutes in advance so that I don't waste time in finding an auto."
Ajay Deshpande said, "Getting an autorickshaw to Bandra station is a mammoth task. Though I'm ready to pay extra, no driver is ready to ply me."
Punished: A traffic constable fines a rickshaw driver for refusing to ply
a passenger for a short distance. PIC/Satyajit Desai
Auto Drivers Speak
Mahendra Bamane: "I was going home and since the passenger's stated destination doesn't fall on the way, I refused."
Rajendra Gulam Humri: "I have to return the auto to its owner. Moreover, I was feeling a bit low, hence I refused the passenger."
A Erraki: "I had to meet someone on the highway, but the passenger wanted to go in the opposite direction. So I said no."
Dipo Balramsingh, who was caught for refusing a passenger, said, "If I don't see the passenger, how do you expect me to wait?"
Text: Samiya Dinware
Place: Ghatkopar (E)
Time: 10 am-12 pm and 5 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 9
Manisha Sharma, who was travelling with her son said, "I asked the rickshaw driver to ply us to Kurla, but he flatly refused. Refusals have become common at Ghatkopar East and West."
Not my fault: An autorickshaw driver whose licence was confiscated
tries to reason with a traffic cop to evade fine.
Pic/ Sayed Sameer Abedi
Auto Drivers Speak
Devraj Parab: "I refused the passenger as I had already plied my last passenger. Besides, I have poor eyesight, so I prefer plying short distance fares in the night."
Muktar Shaikh: "I had come to drop my sister's family to Ghatkopar station as they had come over for Eid. I am off-duty since Monday. I was about to head home when a passenger asked me for a fare to Shreyas Cinema, so I had to refuse him."
Text: Faisal G Tandel