On day 72 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, it was observed that to make an extra buck, errant rickshaw drivers preferred plying long distance fares, leaving short distance passengers stranded

Place: Borivli Station
(East and West)
Time: 9.45 am-11.45 am
and 6 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 13
Commuters speak

Prutha Nayak said, "If the auto unions demand fare hikes from time to time, then they must also see to it that their drivers do not ill-treat passengers by refusing to ply short distances. If they want more money, then they must make sure that service provided by them is equally good."

An errant auto driver being booked for refusing to ply a passenger who had luggage on him

Unmesh Gupta said, "I had to attend a business meeting, but thanks to the arrogant attitude of auto drivers, I am stranded at the station for nearly 30 minutes and will now be late for the appointment."

Aarti Chughani said, "An out-station train has just halted here and all the auto drivers are trying to woo long-
distance fares. There should be a rickshaw stand at the station just for local passengers, as they face this problem on a daily basis."

Auto drivers speak
Padmakar Jha: "My vehicle has developed a technical snag and hence I refused to ply the
Sudhiran Yadav: "I have to admit a friend to the hospital."
Indra Saroj: "It was the long- distance passenger who approached me first. Hence, I cannot be booked for refusing a short distance fare."
Azad Shaikh: "Currently, I'm not at all interested in plying a fare to the west side, so I refused the passenger."

Spot of bother
Auto driver Vikas Maurya, who was apprehended for refusing to ply an out-station passenger because of the luggage he had on him, created a ruckus after his licence was confiscated. "The passenger denied paying extra for the heavy luggage he had on him. Hence I refused to ferry him," he said.

On being caught for refusing to ply a short-distance passenger, driver Ramesh Patel said, "I urgently need to go to the bank and deposit this month's EMI because today is the last day."

After hearing out Patel's lame excuse, traffic constable M S Sangale said, "If you are in such a hurry, then why are you looking out for fares? You should have directly headed to  your destination. The moment you ask around for fares, it implies that you are available for hire and hence cannot refuse a fare."
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 11 am-12.30 pm
Offenders caught: 3
Commuters speak

Bharti Dalvi, who was with her kids, said, "I face this problem of refusal every day. Within a span of 10 minutes, I have been refused by three drivers."

A traffic officials warns a driver for discriminating between long and short-distance fares.

Kumel Jillisger
said, "Thanks to the cops, I got an auto immediately. Every day, I am subjected to myriad refusals before I get an auto."

Auto driver speaks

Ramesh Kumar Mishra: "I had to drop my kids to their schools. Hence I said no to the passenger."
Text: Vaishali Chandra