On day 44 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, rickshaw drivers came up with highly innovative excuses to justify their refusals for ferrying short distance fares

Place: Borivli Station (E)
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 7
Commuters speak

Traffic cop confiscating a driver's licence

Joseph Dias said, "In the past, these drivers had gone on a strike demanding a hike in tariff and they got one. Then why do they still continue to act adamant and refuse to ply passengers? The drivers must mend their ways or sit at home."
Ankita Nair said, "Most of the auto drivers are never ready to ply short distance fares. When we ask for a reason, they come up with lame excuses such as empty gas tanks, meter failures, etc. Surprisingly, all these glitches disappear the moment they get a long distance fare. Such drivers should be penalised and their permits should be revoked."
Umesh Gandhi said, "My office is near Tata Steel on the Western Express Highway near Borivli. Every morning I waste nearly half an hour to find an auto that agrees to ply me to my office. Off late, I have started leaving the house early so that I cover up the time wasted in finding an auto and reach office on time."

Auto drivers speak
After being caught for refusing to ply a short distance fare, auto driver Shailesh Mishra said, "The passenger did not hear me properly. I told her to wait so that I could take a turn. However, she assumed that I had snubbed her."
Ramesh Sawant: "Since I was in an extremely happy mood, I failed to notice the passenger waving out to me."
Ashok Saw: "I wanted to have lunch. Hence I refused the passenger."

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Sion junction
Time: 10 am-12.30 pm
Offenders caught: 5
Commuters speak

A traffic cop penalises an errant driver

Dhananjay Walunj said, "I urgently need to reach Lilavati Hospital, but none of the drivers are ready to ply me."
Sudhir Sanghavi said, "When I asked the auto driver to ferry me to Kurla, he ignored me."
Mamta Patel said, "Refusals by auto drivers have become a part of our lives."

Auto drivers speak

Rajkumar Yadav: "I did not refuse the passenger. It's just that I had to go somewhere."
Suresh Chandra: "I wanted to attend nature's call, hence I refused the passenger and the cops nabbed me. It's weird of them to nab someone who is desperate to take a toilet break."
Anil Singh: "Just take a look at my gas tank and you'll realise why I refused the passenger."

Text: Vishakha Sonawane