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'Refusal to ply is not a crime'

On day 37 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, auto drivers argued with traffic constables, justifying their refusals in plying short distance fares

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 8
Commuters speak
Reshmi Prabhudesai said, "Rickshaw drivers' refusals to ply short distance fares have become a daily affair. I want to go to Bandra Court, but not a single driver is ready to ferry me."

Yogesh Wajge said, "I'm in a hurry to reach BKC, but no driver wants to ply me. Besides, these rogue drivers charge anywhere between Rs 30 to Rs 40, saying that it's cheap. Spending that much on a short distance fare isn't cheap."

Jaan Sharif, a senior citizen who was refused a fare to Kurla Court thrice, said, "These drivers don't care about passenger's emergency. They only look after their convenience."


Good boy: A traffic constable pats an auto driver for accepting his
mistake. Pic/ Sayed Sameer Abedi


Auto drivers speak
Sakharam Khodade who refused a fare to Nehru Nagar, said, "There's an emergency at my residence and
I was in a hurry to reach home. Hence, I refused the passenger."

Irfan Ansari: "Traffic cops have nabbed me unnecessarily. I haven't refused a single fare."

Text: Vishakha Sonawane

Place: BARC Junction and Mankhurd Station
Time: 9 am-11 am and 5 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught:  3
Commuters speak
Manjali Ghulap said, "Usually, there's a horde of autos waiting at the stand to ferry passengers. Surprisingly, today, none of the drivers are ready to go to BARC Colony. Some even sped away after hearing the destination."

Parchuram Dangre said, "Mine's a field job which requires a lot of travelling. With auto drivers refusing to ply, it affects my performance. Besides, during peak hours, they don't hesitate from overcharging people."


Gotcha! A driver being fined for his refusal. Pic/Sameer Markande

Auto drivers speak
Mohammed Safiq Shaikh: "The driver working in the morning shift forgot to refuel the tank. I was on my way to refill it and hence refused the fare."

Rajendra Salvi who started arguing with the officials, said, "I've only refused a passenger, not committed a heinous crime. I did so, because I was in a hurry."

Spot of bother
Traffic constables posted inside the BARC colony nabbed Gulam Shaikh and Ganesh Sitaram for driving without a licence and appropriate documents.

A traffic official said, "Checks are carried out within the colony on a regular basis and we always end up catching a driver or two for driving without adequate documents."

Text: Faisal G Tandel

Place: Outside Borivli Station (W)
Time: 6 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 2

Commuters speak
Kanchan Khare said, "Refusals by errant rickshaw drivers is a problem that most commuters face on a daily basis, and especially during peak hours. The RTO must take stringent action against these rogue
drivers to curb this menace."

Swarna Pimple said, "After a hard day's work, you just want to board a rickshaw and reach home at your earliest. Unfortunately, these days, drivers exploit metre half-down excuse to evade fines for
snubbing short distance fares."


Booked: An errant driver being penalised for refusing to ply a short
distance fare. Pic /Sameer Markande


Auto drivers speak
Rakesh Yadav: "The tail lights of my vehicle are not working and since I didn't want to take the risk of driving at night, I refused to ply."

Bhailal Kashyap: "I was on my way home, hence I refused to ply the passenger."

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

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