Mumbai: Auto, taxi drivers accuse passengers of abusive behaviour

Facing stringent action, including cancellation of permits for refusing fares, fleecing passengers and misbehaving, Mumbai Autorickshaw Taximens’ Union has written a letter to RTOs, claiming that passengers misbehave with the drivers in many cases

They fleece passengers, misbehave, refuse fares, and now, facing an RTO crackdown, they are accusing the passengers of abusive and inappropriate behaviour.

RTOs have decided to suspend the permits of drivers for 15 days if they are caught refusing passengers, behaving rudely or fleecing them. Repeating the offence could lead to permit cancellation. Representational pic
RTOs have decided to suspend the permits of drivers for 15 days if they are caught refusing passengers, behaving rudely or fleecing them. Repeating the offence could lead to permit cancellation. Representational pic

In a letter to all three Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) Wadala, Tardeo and Andheri — in the city, the Mumbai Autorickshaw Taximens’ Union has alleged that while auto and taxi drivers behave appropriately in many cases, passengers misbehave with them. “The passengers intimidate the drivers and even misbehave with them,” states the letter.

The union claims that over the last 5 years, the number of complaints from drivers against passengers has risen manifold. The allegations have come up after the RTOs decided to take the stringent action of suspending the permits of drivers for 15 days if they are caught refusing passengers, behaving rudely or fleecing them.

RTO officials said that they are also planning to temporarily impound the e-meters from these rickshaws and taxis, which will prevent them from plying. Moreover, if they are caught repeating these offences, the permits would be permanently cancelled.

When mid-day brought up the complaints of refusal and other issues that passengers routinely face with drivers, union leader Shashank Rao, who has taken over the reigns from veteran leader Sharad Rao, said, “There are several cases where drivers, too, are targeted by passengers who are rude or are under the influence of alcohol. The drivers are not at fault all the time. These are strong decisions being taken against them”.

Protest tomorrow
The unions have planned a protest on April 7 over demands like the issuance of 1 lakh new permits for autos in Mumbai. They claim that about 20,000 dead permits can be renewed. They have also complained about private vehicles illegally ferrying people from various locations on both the Western and Eastern Express Highways.

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