Mumbai: Auto-rickshaws all over the place at Borivli and Bandra station
Without proper auto stands/queues, the picture outside Borivli and Bandra stations (west) is messy through the days
While auto-rickshaw drivers at Borivli station mostly stick to the RTO-prescribed rate chart, the traffic congestion their chaotic parking causes is a nightmare outside the station. Narrow roads and heavy footfall during peak hours make the congestion worse. The auto-rikshaws line up in parallel rows outside the station with long queues of passengers waiting to board them for three destinations. Plying more than three passengers is another norm here, too.
The share auto-rickshaw stand outside Borivli station (west) is located opposite the Dahisar-end exit gate of the railway station. The corner which is also a major traffic signal junction the station road is lined with queues of passengers wanting to take auto rides to Gorai, Yogi Nagar and Eksar. The shared auto fare for Yogi Nagar and Eksar are Rs 10 per head, it is Rs 12 for Gorai, to where four passengers are crammed into one rickshaw.
The auto-rickshaw drivers outside Bandra station (west) yell at passengers to grab their attention, often confusing them more than helping
While the long queues create congestion during peak hours, matters are not great for the rest of the day either. Auto-rickshaws crowd the street, parked in a haphazard manner, waiting for passengers. The auto-rickshaws drivers have also been blamed for making a U-turn at the Goragandhi signal junction outside the station. The rickshaws dropping passengers at the station take a turn at the signal junction with the divider being conveniently broken at this spot. Because of this U-turn, there is traffic congestion on the road. If a BEST bus is passing by around the same time, the traffic comes to a complete standstill.
BEST gets stuck, too
A BEST bus stop on the same road a few meters away from the share auto-rickshaw stand also plies passengers to the same three locations. But owing to the haphazard parking and passenger queues for rickshaws, the BEST bus leaving Borivli station road find it difficult to move. At any given time of the day, at least two to three auto-rickshaws have to move to make space for the bus to turn left. While all this is unfolding, a long queue of vehicles piles up behind the bus, leading to traffic jams and complete chaos at Borivli station (west).
The auto-rickshaw drivers outside Bandra station (west) yell at passengers to grab their attention, often confusing them more than helping
Jagadish Deshmukhe, traffic police inspector at Borivli, said that the police conducted regular surprise checks to nab errant auto-rickshaw drivers. Over the congestion though, he said, "It is a single road going towards all destinations. But we have approached the BMC to break the divider in a lane so that some share auto-rickshaws can stand there. It will address the congestion on SV Road. We are awaiting approval."
Confusion at Bandra West
It is a disorienting affair for anyone trying to take a share auto outside Bandra railway station (west). A group of auto drivers stand at the station entrance/exit yelling at people to take a ride. Apart from the queue of auto-rickshaws that ferry passengers by the meter, the shared auto-rickshaws wait anywhere and everywhere to grab passengers exiting the railway station.
Linking Road, National College and KFC junction are the three popular destinations where they ply to for Rs 12 per seat, as against the RTO-approved R10 for a 1.8-km stretch. Trips to Carter Road cost Rs 20 against the prescribed Rs 19.
The difference in the fair is higher for other destinations. This reporter took a share auto from Bandra railway station to Bandstand, a 3.6-km stretch that should ideally cost Rs 19 according to RTO norms. The driver asked for Rs 30 though. Many others, who too were waiting for a rickshaw to Bandstand, refused to ride for that fare. The fare by meter comes to around Rs 30-35.
A commuter, Yasin Sheikh, 31, was surprised at the steep rates. A Virar resident, Sheikh was visiting Bandra with his family to spend some time at Bandstand. "They asked for Rs 30 per head. If three of us take one auto, it'll be Rs 90. What is the point of having a share auto facility if the rates are higher than a normal auto that can take us by meter?" he said.
Auto drivers on other routes were over-charging too. Commuters have to shell out Rs 30 for a trip to Mount Mary that should ideally cost between Rs 13-14. There is no bargaining in these prices and auto-drivers won't budge either since there is an abundance of passengers willing to shell out extra money since they are unaware of the prescribed rates. Some auto rickshaws also ferry people to Khar Danda from the station and surprisingly charge Rs 15 per head which is lower than the RTO rate of Rs 23.
When asked about the rate discrepancy, Anand Mulay, in-charge police inspector of Bandra station, said, "We have found out that the share auto drivers are overcharging. Once the Ganpati festival is over, we will take up a drive and will take action against auto drivers who overcharge."
In September 2018, an auto-rickshaw driver was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a teenaged girl with an intention to sexually assault her. The incident took place in Kalyan. When the girl boarded the auto-rickshaw, the accused drove the vehicle towards an isolated place. Sensing danger, the girl jumped out of the auto-rickshaw and escape the clutches of the auto-rickshaw driver. In her complaint, the girl said she feared that the man wanted to rape and molest her. Based on the complaint, the accused was arrested
In August 2018, a journalist lodged a complaint with Borivli police in Mumbai alleging an auto-rickshaw driver masturbated while ferrying her in his auto. In her complaint, she said that after boarding the auto she noticed the driver indulging in obscene actions. The journalist said, "He pulled his pants down and started to openly masturbate in front of me." She claimed there were six men nearby, who saw the driver masturbate, but none came to help her. She then ran away. An FIR was registered against the driver. The case is still underway
In August 2018, a 25-year-old married woman was allegedly kidnapped and raped by an auto-rickshaw driver in a forest area in Ulhasnagar town. The woman, a resident of Raite village near Kalyan and the 30-year-old accused- Mukesh knew each other. When the woman was on her way to a jewellery shop in Ulhasnagar, the accused came in his auto and offered to give her a treat and took her to a restaurant. However, after reaching the eatery, the woman refused to eat or drink anything and told him not to harass her. The accused then offered the woman a drop back home in his rickshaw. However, instead of driving her home on their way back, he took the vehicle to a forest area where he sexually assaulted her. The accused was booked by the police
On the evening of July 13, 2018, traffic constable Minaj Khan was at Lokhandwala in Andheri carrying out routine vehicle and licence check, when she noticed an errant autorickshaw driver headed towards Infinity Mall, trying to evade the check by driving away in a hurry, so much so that he rammed into a parked motorbike. Khan stopped the autorickshaw and asked the driver to show his licence, which upon inspection turned out that it had expired. When Khan asked the auto driver to pay a fine, he flashed a 'media' ID and threatened her, saying not to mistake him as just an auto driver. The driver then snatched the licence, pushed her and tried to intimidate her by driving his vehicle towards her. Just then, passers-by and shopkeepers in the vicinity jumped to her help, stopping the autorickshaw, taking away the keys and catching hold of the driver. Khan, meanwhile, dialled 103 and called for back-up. The driver was booked and arrested
Changing his own appearance and that of his vehicle didn't help this 37-year-old auto-rickshaw driver evade police arrest after he fled with a bag containing 7 tolas of gold left by a passenger. The incident happened on May 15, 2018, when victim Sandip Patil and his family hired two rickshaws from the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The accused Sajnath Jayprakash Morya was driving the rickshaw in which Patil was travelling. While getting off at Chembur, Patil didn't realise that he left his bag containing gold in the rickshaw. However, instead of returning it to him, Morya quickly fled from the spot. After the victim filed a complaint with the Govandi police, they traced him to Vishnu Nagar in Chembur and arrested him
In a shocking incident, a 16-year-old orphan girl was raped by an auto driver in March 2018. The girl then jumped out of the auto in an attempt to save her life. The incident occurred near MIDC in Mahape, Navi Mumbai. After raping the girl the diver allegedly tried taking her to another spot. Fearing for her life, the girl jumped out of the auto and suffered several injuries. She was found unconscious by bystanders who thought it was an accident and took her first to a doctor and then a hospital nearby. The police registered a case and multiple teams were formed to nab him
In February 2018, six auto-rickshaw owners from Thane were booked on charges of fabricating the character certificate and seeking auto permits. According to a complaint lodged by officials from the Regional Transport Office, those applying for auto-rickshaw permits are required to provide the character certificates issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch). However, during verification, it was found that the certificates provided by the six auto-rickshaw owners were fake and had been fabricated. A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code was registered and the matter was probed
In an unfortunate incident, a senior journalist Prashant Tripathi who had worked with several national news channels died in a road accident at Kurla on December 14, 2017, because of the negligence and rash driving by an auto driver. The autorickshaw in which Tripathi was travelling rammed into a stationary autorickshaw because the driver was allegedly speeding, grievously injuring the scribe, who later succumbed to injuries. The police booked and arrested the driver, identified as Yasin Mukhtar Shaikh. Tripathi is survived by his wife, a professor at Allahabad University, and two daughters.
An auto driver lost control of his vehicle and rammed into another auto, before crashing into a shop at Subhash Nagar, New Mill Road in Kurla in December 2017. While the passenger in the speeding auto succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, the driver managed to flee from the spot. The police registered an FIR against the driver for causing death by negligence
Ram Mandir police in Mumbai booked a local auto driver for allegedly running a puppy over in November 2017. The incident came to light when a local resident approached the cops about the auto driver who refused to "change course". Post-mortem reports confirmed that the puppy had died on the spot due to injury caused by pressure, which broke its neck and led to its death. The police had registered an FIR in the case
An auto rickshaw ride turned out to be a scary affair for a young Thane resident. The 19-year-old girl was allegedly slapped and molested by the driver of the auto she boarded. The incident took place at Thane in July 2018. Locals in the vicinity caught the accused, beat him up and handed him over to police.
A nine-year-old girl managed to escape from the clutches of a 65-year-old auto rickshaw driver who was trying to kidnap her on April 13, 2017, by jumping out of his moving vehicle in Thane. The child, an Std II student of a school was headed to a shop nearby when the auto driver, her neighbour, called out to her. He told her he would drop her back home but when the girl refused to get into his auto, he dragged her into his vehicle and sped off. The girl saved herself by jumping out of the vehicle. The accused was later arrested
An autorickshaw driver duped a Malad-based actress, Megha Chakraborty on October 2016 with a fake Rs 100 note. The actress was given a Rs 100 'Monopoly' note that she unknowingly accepted from the auto-rickshaw driver. Chakraborty, who originally hails from Kolkata, was travelling in Mumbai. The auto driver could not be traced
A passenger was beaten up by three autorickshaw drivers outside the Ghatkopar station in September 2016. Malesh Gauda (25), who whips up fresh dosas near Vidyavihar railway station, hailed an autorickshaw after work. He had all his cooking utensils with him. The fare for the ride came up to Rs 18. Gauda handed Rs 20 over to the driver, Mudasar Aman Sayyed (31). The driver, however, demanded more money for the cooking utensils. When Gauda refused, an argument broke out between him and the driver. Sayyed was soon joined by two autorickshaw drivers from the vicinity, and the three allegedly began thrashing Gauda. Sayyed also allegedly removed a wiper blade of his autorickshaw and attacked Gauda with it, leaving him with serious injuries. The police arrested two persons for assault
A share autorickshaw driver allegedly thrashed a passenger in Dahisar West in April 2016 over a trivial argument over a fare. Sarjuprasad Sahani (45), a security guard with a private firm in Borivli, took a share autorickshaw at Borivli station to get to his residence, 4 km away from his workplace. On arriving at his destination, Sahani gave the driver, Ramparvesh Chauhan, a Rs 100 note for a fare of Rs 12. Chauhan told him he didn't have the exact change and asked him to fork out another Rs 2 so as to return Rs 90. When Sahani told him he had only Rs 20 left on him, Chauhan began abusing him and allegedly summoned two to three share autorickshaw drivers and together, they beat Sahani till he lost consciousness. Sahani later died in the hospital. The police arrested the driver
Autorickshaws are one of the most preferred public transport in Mumbai. Mumbaikars hop into one to mostly commute short distances as autos prove to be a cheap ride and can make its way through tight traffic and narrow roads. However, incidents of crime such as loot, brawls over fares and even serious crimes like murder and sexual assault have been reported against a few errant auto drivers. We highlight incidents of auto drivers who have committed crimes
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