On day 30 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, an ill-tempered driver threatened journalists, while others kept snubbing short distance fares
Place: Kalanagar, Bandra (East)
Time: 9.45am-11.45am and 5.15pm-6.45pm
Offenders caught: 4
Dhara D'souza, who was asked to step down from the auto by its driver, lamented, "This is highly frustrating. I walked all the way from my office till here and was refused by every passing auto. I just don't know what to do."
Sunita Mehta said, "I usually do not travel by autos, but I have a hairline fracture and had no choice. Despite
requesting the drivers, they flatly refused to ply me."
Kalpana Pawar said, "It's a common problem in this area. We all have to face refusals at least thrice before we get an auto."
Auto drivers speak
Anand Sonawane, who was caught for refusing a passenger, said, "My auto is running low on gas. I'm ready to ferry the passenger, but if it runs out of gas en route, I shouldn't be held responsible."
Vinod Kesri: "I have to pick up somebody at the junction."
Amit Kumar Singh: "I have to return the auto to its owner."
Spot of bother
Cursing the journalists for covering the campaign, a grumpy driver threatened to launch a protest against media. "What you people are doing, is not good. It's because of you we end up paying fines up to Rs 700. We don't earn money to spend it on stupid fines." However, he left quietly after the police intervened.
Text: Samiya Dinwar
Place: Ghatkopar (East)
Time: 10 am-12 pm and 5.30 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 4
Preeti Shah, who wanted to go to the telephone exchange on the west side, said, "Most of the time, these drivers refuse fares from Ghatkopar East."
Hrunal Ghaduge said, "When I complained to the traffic officials, one of the drivers tried fleeing. But, the officials managed to nab him. He then started arguing with the cop and lied that he never refused me."
Sadaf Shaikh, who was standing for more than 20 minutes, said, "I asked the driver to drop me to Ghatkopar depot, but he refused me and accepted another fare for Chembur. I am a doctor and have to open my clinic on time or else patients will suffer."
Auto Drivers Speak
Ramdas Yadav: "The lady wanted to go till the telephone exchange. I didn't refuse her. Instead, I suggested her to take an auto from the west side. Since I was heading to Chembur, I was looking for an appropriate fare."
Tukaram Shinde: "I was resetting the meter, when the passenger approached me. I failed to respond on time, so she went and complained to the traffic officials."
Text: Faisal G Tandel