Auto drivers taking commuters for a ride

Oct 21, 2013, 01:45 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

Commuters looking to flag auto rickshaws in Hadapsar are undergoing a harrowing time, as drivers are refusing to ply by the meter, and insisting that they will ply only on sharing basis.

Drivers blatantly refuse to go as per the set tariff, forcing commuters to shell out extra money for the distance covered between Magarpatta and towards Amanora Park Town. When confronted, drivers said that even the police would not act against them.

All clear? Traffic officials say they have cleared auto drivers operating from under the Mundhwa junction bridge in the past. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The one-kilometre stretch from Hadapsar bus stop to Magarpatta city, which is a thriving hub of IT companies and malls, is pinching the pockets of people who want to commute alone. The rickshaw drivers who gather below the Mundhwa junction bridge often refuse to ply by the electronic meters and ask passengers to share the auto instead.

Annoyed by this daily occurrence, Shabana Yasmin, who works in a recruitment firm at Magarpatta City, said, “I travel from Hadapsar bus stop till Magarpatta city every day. The normal fare for the distance covered is Rs 17 rupees. Unfortunately, the rickshaw drivers here do not turn on their meters and ask us to share. Every time, I deny the sharing, but they then ask me to shell out Rs 40, as I am a single commuter.

I don’t understand why they do it. If I opt for the next auto, no one is ready to take me at all. I believe there is some kind of understanding among the auto drivers here.”  Another commuter, Akansha Tiwari, a resident of Magarpatta, said, “There is a lot of problem to get a rickshaw from Hadapsar bus stop to Amanora.

I frequent Hadapsar regularly for shopping and after completing my purchases, I prefer going back in a rickshaw, as I have several bags with me. But, these rickshaw drivers cheat us by charging more. They take people on a seat basis and are reluctant to use to ply by the meter. We have to pay Rs 20 per seat when it is hardly a one kilometre distance. All the rickshaw drivers are united on this rip-off.”

T B Surve, traffic in-charge, Hadapsar region, said, “The auto rickshaw stand there is illegal. We have taken action against autos standing there on several occasions and cleared the area many times in the past, but these drivers return. To thwart the menance, we have taken sterner action by putting barricades below the Mundhwa junction bridge recently.

Considering our limitations, we are not able to keep a track of their return every time. Also, they run away every time they get a whiff about the traffic police’s arrival. To avoid further inconvenience to commuters, I appeal them to note down the number of the auto demanding extra charges and share it with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) or traffic police. We will always be ready to assist them.”

Fare unfair
While the normal fare in this stretch should cost Rs 17 with respect to the distance travelled, sharing an auto with three two other passengers costs Rs 12 per person. If you chose to be a lone commuter, Rs 40 is charged.

For lodging complaints
Call T B Surve on 9689891957 

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