On day 71 of MiD DAY's Meter Down Campaign, a majority of auto drivers were caught for demanding excess fares to carry luggage of passengers alighting from outstation trains
Place: Outside Borivli (East) station
Time: 10.15 am - 11.30 am
Offenders caught: 6
Subodh Yalgar said, "Rickshaw drivers are now only out on the road to ply passengers to the destinations that suit their own convenience. The alarming part about the current situation is that they only prefer long distance fares in order to rake in profits."
Yatharth Gupta said, "Refusing short distance fares is a routine habit among the auto drivers. RT0 officials must formulate stricter laws and conduct regular stringent checks in order to make the drivers fall in line. A rickshaw driver's licence must be suspended if he is caught refusing a fare thrice."
Kausha Adhikari said, "I am waiting for the past 20 minutes to hire a rickshaw that agrees to ferry me to my destination. There are a lot of rickshaws at the station but since an outstation train has just halted here, all rickshaw drivers are now running behind those passengers as they get a chance to extract more money from them due to their luggage."
Unfair: Driver argues that it's his right to demand extra fare for carrying
luggage in his auto. Pic/Mahesh Chafe
Auto Drivers speak
On being caught for refusing to ply a short distance passenger, driver Sureshkumar Shukla said in his defence, "I never refuse short-distance fares, it's not my habit."
On being detained for refusing to ferry a passenger to a nearby destination, driver Panchdev Pal and Balkrishna Shirke had the same reply. They said, "We only asked the passenger to come to the end of the road. We didn't refuse to ply them."
However, their passengers testified against the drivers.
Spot of Bother
When driver Puran Vishwakarma was seen demanding an excess fare of Rs 20, above the authorised fare, from a passenger who was carrying luggage, traffic cops caught him. Angered by this, Vishwakarma said, "Rickshaws have a right to demand extra fare if the passenger carries luggage."
Driver Rishiraj Singh was caught for demanding excess fare from an outstation passenger. When his licence was confiscated, he created a big scene and said, "The passenger has a lot of luggage and I rightfully demanded the money."
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar
Time: 5:00 pm to 7:15 pm
Offenders caught: 3
Perennial problem: Passenger asserts that refusals are routine and it's
common to wait for long hours to get an auto. Pic/Mahesh Chafe
Chandramani Balshankar said, "I've been waiting for the past 15 minutes but no one is ready to take me to my destination."
Naonika Roy said, "I want to go to Govandi to attend a lecture, and now I am late as every one is refusing to ply me."
Sachin Musarka said, "I am tired because I just finished work. Waiting for a rickshaw is now a daily routine."
Auto drivers speak
Rajesh Shantaram said, "I refused because I wanted to refill gas."
Rajapati Prajapati said, "I couldn't hear what the passenger said."
Pavankumar Jha said, "I wanted to attend nature's call."
Text: Anamika More