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We are fed up of the auto drivers' double standards

On Day 70 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, passengers continued to have the same complaints of rickshaw drivers refusing to ferry them short distances

Place: Outside Borivli Station
Time: 10.30 am-12 and 6 pm-7.15 pm
Offenders caught: 8
Commuters speak:
Swati Bidve, a regular commuter, said, "Most of the auto drivers prefer to ferry passengers who have just alighted from long distance trains as they can then ask them to shell out more money for luggage. Other drivers are smart and only ply those who wish to travel via the Western Express highway. This is all fine and dandy for the auto drivers but it creates a major nuisance for us commuters."
"Every morning we start the day in the most annoying way as rickshaw drivers keep refusing short-distance fares. We have to face refusals from at least 10 drivers before one can find a rickshaw," grumbled Surekha Dey.


Maaf kar do na: Realising his error, an auto driver begs for forgiveness
after a constable catches him for refusing fares at Borivli.
Pics/Mahesh Chafe


Another passenger Laxmikant Chavan, griped, "Even though auto drivers can see that I am old and can't walk properly they refuse to ferry me to my destination. They have completely forgotten common courtesy."

Hareshwar Jadhav said, "I asked a rickshaw driver to ferry me a short distance and he refused saying that he did not know the way. However, barely five minutes later when a passenger asked him for a long-distance on the same route, the driver quickly took the passenger in. Such are the double standards of these errant drivers."

Auto drivers speak:
On being caught for refusing to ply a short-distance passenger, driver Ram Yadav said, "I ply my auto on a shift basis and have to now hand over the vehicle to the next driver."

Narendra Upadhyay, another driver caught turning down a short-distance commuter, said, "I wanted to go to Borivli (West) to pay my water bill. Therefore, I was in search for a fare to the west side."

Another driver Majhar Hussein retorted after being caught for refusing a fare, "Since there was a bus stand nearby, it would be inappropriate to accept fares."

Auto driver Ramdhar Pal said, "I had to rush home for some urgent work and hence refused to ply the passenger." However, realising the auto driver was simply making an excuse to escape being fined, the constable told the driver that if he wanted to rush home he should have rather than asking for other fares.


Jaane bhi do: An errant auto driver tries to negotiate with the constable
to let him go.


Spot of Bother:
When Rajesh Singh, a driver was booked by a constable for refusing to ply, the driver created a scene shouting, "How can you book me when I haven't even spoken to the passenger?"

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10.30 am-12.15 pm
Offenders caught:  6
Commuters Speak:
Abhishek Joshi, a passenger who wanted to go to Kurla garden said, "Luckily I have not been waiting for a long time, but there is not a single day when the auto drivers don't refuse. Their refusal and us fighting with them has become a daily routine."

Aamir Shaikh, who was waiting for an auto for about 10 minutes with his wife and two children, was refused twice. He said, "Though the traffic cops are present, auto drivers, still have the guts to refuse. The driver told me that he only takes long-distance passengers."


'I can do no wrong': An auto driver tries to talk himself out of being
fined for refusing a fare at Sion. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi


Auto drivers Speak:
Babban Sheikh, an auto driver was caught twice within a few hours for refusing fares. When asked why he turned down the fares, he said, "The first time I refused the passenger was because I did not know where he wanted to go and the second time was because I did not wish to go to Kurla as my rickshaw belongs to Ghatkopar."

When caught by a traffic constable for refusing fares, Raju Jaiswal, straightaway answered that he didn't do so. However the passengers told the cops that they were refused on the grounds that the driver only plies long distance. "I swear by God that I did not refuse the passenger," said Jaiswal.

Text: Vaishali Chandra

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