'Long distance fares are better'

On day 31 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, auto drivers continue to refuse short distance fares and offer the same old excuses when caught

Place: Malad Station (W) and opposite D-Mart
Time: 10 am-12 pm and 5.30 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 13
Commuters Speak
Renu Sankhe said, "I have to report to my office at Interface around 11 am everyday. Nowadays, I leave my house early, as I know that my time will be wasted at the station to find a rickshaw."

Elizabeth Gomes, who works at Mindspace, said, "Almost all drivers in the morning keep their meters half-down and speed away. They had asked for a fare hike and it was accepted. Now what is their problem? Why are they refusing to ply passengers?"
Ramesh Jain said, "If these errant rickshaw drivers don't mend their ways, a time will come when angry commuters will start manhandling them."

Think before you speak: Traffic cops reprimanding an errant auto
driver. Pic/ Mahesh Chafe

Auto Drivers Speak
After refusing to ply several passengers to nearby destinations, Iqrar Ahmed, said, "I am a poor man. Please don't fine me."

An arrogant Dinesh Singh stated, "I wanted a long distance fare, as it is economically viable. Hence, I refused the passenger who wanted to go close by."

Spot of bother
Rickshaw driver Madan Tiwari, who was caught for refusing to ply Rekha Vakharia, to Marve Road, said, "I don't know the road that's why I refused to ply her." However, after the traffic cops probed Tiwari, it emerged that he has been driving in the Malad area for the last two years. Hearing this, traffic constable Ajay Sonawane said, "It's impossible that Tiwari doesn't know Marve Road. He is lying." Following the incident, Tiwari's licence was confiscated.

While Bimlesh Pandey, who was caught for the second time in two days for refusing to ply passengers to short distance destinations was unmoved.

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 1
Commuter Speaks
Gauri Deshmukh said, "I am in a hurry to reach office on time. I wanted to go to Asian Paints that is close by, but the auto driver flatly refused to ferry me."

Where's your uniform? A traffic constable fines an auto driver for not
wearing his uniform. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Auto Driver Speaks:
Subhash Narayan More: "I didn't refuse the lady, she just went ahead. I was going to take her fare." 
Text: Mukul Pawar

Place: Kalanagar, Bandra (E)
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 3
Commuter Speaks
Patricia D'mello, who was refused thrice, said, "I have to rush to my son's school. Though I left half an hour early, I'm still finding it difficult to get an auto. Though at times I'm ready to pay them extra, they still refuse to ply."

Auto Drivers Speak
Deepak Shahane: "Since I'm clueless about the destination stated by the passenger, I refused to ply." When asked had he agreed if the passenger had guided him, he said, "I have to go somewhere."

Ahmed Khan: "This auto doesn't belong to me. And I've been strictly ordered to ferry only long distance fares."

Spot of bother
Raju Kumar, who was caught for refusing a passenger and trying to flee the spot on seeing a traffic constable, said, "This is unfair. The area where the  passenger wanted to go, doesn't fall in the list asked by the owner to abide by."
Text: Samiya Dinware

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