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Mumbai auto drivers fleece passengers at T2 with 'entry fee'

Auto drivers fleece clueless commuters by charging extra for plying them to the new T2 building, claiming they have to pay an extra fee to enter the premises

Taking advantage of the earlier confusion surrounding the entry to the recently inaugurated international airport’s Terminal 2 (T2), auto drivers are ripping commuters off by charging them an additional fare.

Auto drivers
Autorickshaws outside the Terminal 2 building. Pic/Shailesha Bhatia

Rickshaw drivers are overcharging passengers anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 100 to drop them to T2. Drivers claim that it’s what the airport authorities charge them to enter the airport premises, and use this excuse to fleece unsuspecting commuters.

TAKEN FOR A RIDE: Pradnya Ingale (left) and Shahid Amlani
TAKEN FOR A RIDE: Pradnya Ingale  (left) and Shahid Amlani

Pradnya Ingale (30), an office manager in a private firm, almost fell victim to the swindle. Ingale, who boarded an auto from Ghatkopar for T2 to receive her friend, said that midway through the journey, the auto driver informed her that she would have to shell out an additional Rs 50, apart from the normal fare, to gain entry to the airport premises. “I was unsure of what he was saying and found it strange. Hence, I called a friend who works at the international airport to ask him if it’s true,” said Ingale.

“As soon as I learnt that the driver was trying to fleece me, I firmly asked him to drop me to the airport’s auto stand without any extra charges. When he realised that I would drag him to the police station, he did not force me to pay the extra charge,” added Ingale.

Another commuter, Shahid Amlani, a 28-year-old businessman, had to face a similar situation. He was making his way to the international airport to receive his friends at about 9.30 pm recently. After he boarded a rickshaw from Andheri station, the driver refused to drop him till the airport. Instead, the driver told him that he would be dropped off in the vicinity of the airport. Amlani was told that he would have to pay an extra R100 to be dropped at airport’s arrival auto stand.

“I was furious when he told me that he would leave me halfway. According to the driver, the havaldars [traffic constables] there charge Rs 100 from the auto rickshaw drivers for entry and to recover that amount, I would have to pay from my pocket. I started calling up a few traffic officials who asked me to take down his batch number. After a few minutes, the auto driver received a call from the authorities. He then decided to drop me wherever I wanted. First of all, it takes a lot of time to convince them to drop us till the airport and to add to this, they have resorted to this type of underhand behaviour. It is not acceptable at all,” said Amlani.
— Inputs from Shashank Rao

RTO speaks

"We weren't aware of this situation. Now that we have come to know, we will investigate the matter and ensure that such incidents do not take place,” said P Bhalerao, regional transport officer, Andheri. When asked what passengers should do if an auto driver refuses to ply them to any place, Bhalerao said, “The passenger must note down the auto’s number and give us the details of the incident with time, date and place of incidence. He/she can either write to us or even email the complaint to us.”

'No charges'
Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) spokesperson said, “No charges are levied on auto rickshaws entering T2. They are completely misleading the passengers. Any passenger encountering such a problem should complain to the RTO/police”.

'It's wrong'
Anil Parab, union leader, Rickshaw Chalak Malak Sangh, said, “If any driver is charging an amount extra other than the fare, then it is wrong. I am unaware of this and will now have to look in to the matter. There was some confusion when the new terminal officially opened. Hence, there might be a few drivers who are taking undue advantage of the situation.”

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