Auto drivers come up with innovative excuses to refuse fare, one flees the spot, leaving cop to drive vehicle out of way
On Day 3 of the auto campaign, it was obvious rickshaw drivers were totally oblivious to passenger problems and more engrossed in their domestic errands. They were more concerned about picking up or dropping their children, their wives and other family members. The Meter Down team apprehended two rickshaws who not only refused to take passengers but also argued with the police team that was present with the reporters.
Location: Kothrud, Big Bazar, Karvenagar
Time: 11.15 pm to 1.30 pm
Offenders caught: 5
Wrong place: An autorickshaw driver is given a ticket by a police
constable for parking his vehicle illegally at the stand near Big Bazar,
Kothrud. pic/Krunal Gosavi
The area around Big Bazar, Kothrud is infamous for rickshaws who refuse to ply by meter after 7 pm. During the day, they also tend to overcharge when they see commuters hauling heavy bags and desperate for an auto. Quite a few of the drivers who we tried to stop for refusing passengers tried to run away from the spot. We also noticed that it was a pattern among the auto men, not to ply commuters wanting to go to nearby destinations. A lot of the rickshaw drivers gave reasons like they were going to the petrol pump or that they were on school duty.
Mend your ways: Auto drivers pay the fine to the traffic police after
being booked by them. pic/Suhas Joshi
The MiD DAY team found only a single auto driver who agreed to a short distance fare. Vitthal Pathak (MH 12 AQ 9128) was the only auto driver who agreed to take the team from Karve Nagar to City Pride. Team MiD DAY also noticed that the number of auto drivers agreeing to go to certain place without any conditions was dwindling.
Location: Ozone Mall, Anand Park, Aundh
Time: 5 pm to 7pm
Offenders caught: 11
Auto rickshaw drivers were booked for refusal to ply passengers for short distances , overcharging them and not using meter today in Aundh. This was the situation during the peak-hour traffic in Aundh's crowded area.
MiD DAY reporter found that more rickshaws were parked at Anand Park rickshaw stand than the permitted limit of seven.
Passing the parcel
When the reporter tried to get a rickshaw to Convergis call centre, which is a short sistance, the rickshaw drivers simply passed on the query to others. Arguments began as they demanded Rs 30 after making the passenger wait for more than 25 minutes. This reporter was even given an amusing answer by one rickshaw guy who even brought a smile to the plainclothes API Sanjay Patange, " Mala kantala ala ahe (I am bored) and I will not drive."
Another went on to add that he stopped only to tell this reporter that he was out of gas. Patange also had to drive one of the rickshaws when one of the driver ran away, leaving the rickshaw standing on the wrong side.
Nivedita Joshi, another resident waited in vain for a rickshaw to drive her from Anand Park to Bremen chowk and when none agreed to go on meter, it was only with the help of the Meter Down team that she got one. "Today they are complying because the police is here but what happens tomorrow?"
Patange booked the drivers under Motor Vehicle Act 178(3) for refusing to ply a commuter, under 31 - no dress code, under no 24(2) not displaying the badge and section 3(1) without licence. There were also some really good rickshaw drivers who drove the people from Anand Park to Medipoint and one to Nagras road that to on meter.
I have faced a lot of problem while traveling from Deccan to Karve Nagar. Although it is a busy place, they say that they won't get passengers while going coming back. We know that they work 8-hours on all the days, but that does not give them the right to say no to a passenger. While coming from Shagun Chowk to Cummins College also, I have faced a lot of problems.
A Deshpande (60)
While traveling from Dasbhuja to MIT, especially when vacations are going on, they charge extra. They charge even more if there is even a small bag, as much as Rs 10 a bag. If the meter shows Rs 28.50 they say Rs 29 or Rs 30. We don't have a problem giving them 50 paisa extra, but they earn a lot of money taking 50 paise from
10 people. They charge Rs 50 more than the meter from Sancheti Hospital. They overcharge and argue, they are truly a menace.
Shubhangi Deodhar (39)
A nine-month pregnant Rupali Rajkumar wanted to travel to D P road and was refused by two rickshaws drivers for which the squad had to literally run to catch the driver. The arrogance of the rickshaw driver when caught was enough for the inspectors to book him and he couldn't produce a license also.
"My mother travels regularly by rickshaw but it is cumbersome to get one. She is a senior citizen and often wants to visit her friends living nearby, but it's so difficult to get the rickshaw drivers to ply short distance, and I don't think we have ever seen a meter working. They charge Rs 20 to Rs 30 depending upon how much further you are travelling in Aundh."