Drivers not ready to go the short distance

Published: Oct 19, 2011, 08:22 IST | Team MiD DAY |

To avoid plying to nearby destinations, auto men give excuses like 'taking water break' and 'had to drop schoolkids'

To avoid plying to nearby destinations, auto men give excuses like 'taking water break' and 'had to drop schoolkids'

As many as 14 rickshaw drivers were booked on Day 2 of
MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign.

Place: Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand, Good Luck Chowk, Deccan Gymkhana
Time: 5 pm to 7 pm
Offenders caught:  14

They were booked for refusal to take in passengers, overcharging and refusing to ply by meters.
The reporters noticed that rickshaw drivers at Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand demanded Rs 50 from a reporter to go to Fergusson College Road and refused to ply by meter. The other areas where reporters asked them to ply were PMC, Hotel Panchali, Sangamwadi and Fergusson College Road.

Brought to book: Auto rickshaw drivers made to pay fine at a police
station after they were booked. P
ic/Ishan Ghosh

One of the driver who was asked to ply to Sangamwadi refused and tried to run away from the spot. When the Deccan/Shivaji Nagar traffic division police noticed this, they immediately booked the rickshaw driver for refusing fare. Some of the auto drivers in the Deccan area, sensing that a campaign was going on, agreed to ply even the short distance to Shivaji Nagar station with the fare amounting to less than Rs 16.  Asked to ply towards Someshwar Wadi, an auto driver refused saying he would not get a decent passenger from there.

They beg to differ: Bhagwat Sathe and Nazim Ansari  were ready
to ply to any destination. pics/Ishan Ghosh

However, when the traffic police booked him, he said he had to drop children home from a nearby school. He was charged for trying to get a fare even though he had to ply children, while his meter was fully down. When asked to take commuters towards Good Luck Chowk from Joshi Marg, an auto driver refused, but when he was rounded up by the traffic police in plainclothes, he pleaded innocence and said he was taking a water break and had no intention to go anywhere.

Silver lining
MiD DAY found that there were some drivers who readily agreed to ply to the location desired by commuters. They were Moinuddin Shaikh (MH 12 AQ 9160), Bhagwat Sathe (MH 12 FC 1633) and Nazim Ansari (MH 12 FC 1847). A reporter asked Sathe to ply to Sangamwadi, and he immediately agreed. "How can I refuse anyone? We are here for passengers who come to the city from out station with loads of luggage in their hands. It's my duty to drop them wherever they want." Ansari was also ready to go to Fergusson College road when one of the reporters asked him to ply to the PMC bus stop there. Shaikh also said he never refused fares.  

Everyday I have to commute from Camp to Fakhri Raviwar Peth, and mostly,I am refused as the drivers look for better destinations. It is obvious that drivers tamper with meters. At times the meters show excessive fare.
We come to know, as we commute regularly.
Amit Sonawne (29)

There is no discipline in the city and no one is concerned. Things are the way they have always been. I am from Delhi and I see more discipline among rickshaw and cab drivers there. The governing authority should enforce stringent rules on the rickshaw drivers and penalise them every time they violate laws.
Vinita Desai
There's no solution for this. For how long will we fight? If one is refused by the autowallahs, then they should travel by buses. Everyone knows and have read in papers that the auto drivers ruthlessly refuse commuters, or do not ply short distance and even rig their meters. It is worst than Mumbai. But has there been any solution to it?
Raju Bhambure (63)

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