According to statistical data provided by the Regional Transportation Office (RTO), the city’s auto rickshaw drivers have driven commuters to their wit’s end during the last rainy season and forced them to send dozens of written complaints for various reasons.
Between April 2011 and present date, the RTO has received a total of 1,308 written complaints from commuters, and refusal to ply complaints were the highest. The number of complaints peaked during the rainy season (June to September 2011), and data indicates almost one third of total complaints received by RTO happened during this period.
Commuters had sent complaints to the RTO, via email, its toll free number and through SMS regarding auto drivers behaving rudely, overcharging and refusing to ferry passengers.
After starting a toll free complaint number and SMS service from August 2010, the number of complaints have only increased by the day and ‘refusal to ply’ tops the list.
Data provided by the RTO shows that of the 1,308 complaints received, 269 were for high fare, 755 for refusal to ply, 180 for arrogant behavior and 104 for meter tampering. The RTO has so far fined offenders for various offences as per complaints received and raked in Rs 4,63,800 in way of fines.
“We are taking serious action against the errant auto rickshaw owners. After receiving a complaint, we send notice to the concerned rickshaw owner. If he doesn’t answer, his papers will be not cleared during annual passing. If he accepts the complaint, a fine will be levied or his licence will be seized for 10 day,” said an insider. He added that refusal of complaint by a rickshaw owner will lead to a proper hearing in the presence of the concerned commuters.
“In 90 per cent of the cases, rickshaw owners accepts their fault and pay the fine,” the official said.
Sanjay Dhaygude, deputy RTO officer said that people are more aware about the sites and toll free numbers now and are using the facilities.
“People are getting aware and sending complaints. Generally in the monsoon we get the maximum number of complaints. It is necessary to write the registration number of the rickshaw, place, time and brief description of the problem, after which action will be taken within one or two days,” he said.
NGOs and representative of the commuters claim that in comparison to the actual number commuters inconvenienced, these complaints are few as majority of the people are still unaware about the service offered by the RTO.
“These complaints show only 10 per cent of affected commuters use the service. Commuters are still reluctant to complain despite the fact that it can be registered through email or SMS. People should participate actively,” Vishwas Sahastrabudhe, civil activist of Sajag Nagrik Manch said.
Rainy season complaints
>> June 2011: 104
>> July 2011: 101
>> August 2011: 115
>> September 2011: 141
Reason for complaints
April 2011-till date
>> High fare: 269
>> Refusal to ply: 755
>> Arrogant behaviour: 180
>> Meter tampering: 104
>> Total complaints: 1,308
Fines collected: Rs 4,63,800
Toll free number for complaints against rickshaw drivers:
1800-233-0012 or SMS 59994, 8888004455
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerned commuter should specify the no of rickshaw, date, time, place and brief description about the complaint.