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'Station is close by, hence I refused him'

On day 64 of MiD DAY's Meter Down Campaign, errant auto drivers yet again exhibited double standards. While they agreed to ply long distance fares, they refused passengers wanting to travel short distances

Place: Borivli Station (East) and (West)
Time: 10.40 am-11.45 am and 5.30 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 9
Commuters speak
Sapna Todi said, "On several occasions, I reach work late because these errant drivers refuse to ply short distances. Keeping this in mind, nowadays, I have started leaving early."

Keshav Shinde said, "When you ask these drivers for a short distance fare, they tell you that they are unaware of the route. However, the moment they get a long distance fare, they happily ply the passengers."


Why am I being stopped? An auto driver argues with traffic police
officials after he was nabbed. PIC/SAYED Sameer Abedi

Sangeeta Shekhawat said, "It's next to impossible to find an auto during the morning and evening peak hours."
Auto drivers speak
Rakesh Pathak: "My auto has developed a technical snag and I need to fix it urgently."

T Pathak: "Too many passengers were asking me for a fare and it confused me. Hence I refused all of them."

Spot of bother
Auto driver Rajendra Jadhav, who had refused to ply a short distance passenger, fled the spot after he saw on-duty traffic constables walking in his direction. However, his luck ran out when a motorcycle-borne traffic cop intercepted Jadhav.

When the cops started questioning Jadhav, he said, "The auto is out of gas."

To verify his claims, when a cop checked the gas meter, it became apparent that he was lying. He was then booked for refusal and fleeing.

Similarly, even Dinesh Pawar was caught for refusing a short distance fare. During enquiry it emerged that he
was driving without a licence and proper documents.

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Govandi (East)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught:  3
Commuters speak
Naina Bodake said, "It's been over 20 minutes since a driver agreed to ply me to Shivaji Nagar. Drivers' refusals to ply short distances have become a routine."

K M Shetty said, "My wife and I wanted to go to Chembur, but none of the drivers are ready to ferry us. To make matters worse, they give you ridiculous reasons for their refusals."


Come with me: A traffic constable takes an errant driver into custody
who argued with him. Pic/ Sameer Markande


Auto drivers speak
Jitlal Maurya: "The passengers wanted to go to the station which is hardly a five-minute-walk from here. Hence I said no to them."

Chandramani Jadhav: "Since the vehicle is running low on fuel, I refused the passenger."

Text: Anamika More

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