On day 50 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign; rogue auto drivers went about their business of refusing passengers wanting to travel to nearby destinations, while they happily agreed to ply long distance passengers

Place: Borivli Station (E)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am and 6 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 5
Commuters speak
Soham Thakker said, "Since almost all the drivers have become money-minded, they always prefer long distance fares over shorter ones."

Shailja Gogate said, "My son is physically challenged. Despite pleading with the drivers to ferry us, none of them agreed."

Natwarlal Bhojani said, "During peak hours, I face at least 15 refusals before an auto driver agrees to ply me. I fail to understand their (drivers) fondness for long distance fares."

Go catch him first: An auto drivers argues with the on-duty constables,
who fined him for refusing a short distance fare. pic/Mahesh Chafe 

Auto driver speak
Jitendra Patel: "As I am new to this area, I thought there was an auto stand around and headed for it. It was due to this that I refused the passenger."

Spot of bother
Rickshaw driver Satyaprakash Singh who refused to ferry a short distance fare, happily took in a long distance passenger. Taking a note of his double standards, the on-duty traffic constable intercepted Singh and confiscated his licence for refusal. Singh then created a ruckus. "The vehicle is almost out of gas, hence I refused the passenger."

However, when the constable questioned why did he agree to ply a long distance fare, when the gas was low, Singh was left dumfounded and drove away quietly.

Similarly, even Rakesh Pal's licence was confiscated when he snubbed a short distance fare, but readily agreed to ply a long distance passenger."

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 3
Commuters speak
Harminder Wasan said, "I had to go to Milan Subway. But when I asked the driver for a fare, he refused to ply."

Pinky Sav said, "I don't know why these auto drivers refuse to go to short distances? After all, it's their job and duty to ply all passengers, irrespective of their destinations."

In the dock: A driver being penalised. pic/ Shahdab Khan

Auto drivers speak
Baban Bansode: "My father has been admitted to a hospital and I was going to see him. Hence, I refused the passenger."

Vijay Kumar Shrivastav: "I'm going to refuse five more passengers after this. What are you going to do?"

Text: Vishakha Sonawane

Place: BARC Junction
Time: 9 am-11am and 5 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 3
Commuters speak
D Belapurkar said, "Finding an auto has become a mammoth task."

Premila Bulushetty said, "We never get rickshaws from the BARC Colony, as almost all the drivers prefer ferrying within the colony."

Respect passengers: A traffic constable books an auto driver for
snubbing a short distance fare. pic/Mahesh Chafe

Auto drivers speak
Dharamraj Singh: "I wanted to drop my kids to school, hence I refused to ply the passenger."

Ashok Yadav: "I was looking for a fare within the colony."

Adam Patel: "The auto is out of gas."

Text: Dimpi Thakkar