Mumbai: Rogue drivers thrive on chaos at Ghatkopar station

Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 09:24 IST | Dipali Kirpalani, Chetna Yerunkar

Share autos at Vikhroli, Vidyavihar and Ghatkopar stations mistreat women, block roads, fleece commuters every day

Mumbai: Rogue drivers thrive on chaos at Ghatkopar station
Lines for share autos and buses at Ghatkopar station hinder the smooth flow of traffic. Pic/ Suresh Karkera

Auto DiverAuto-rickshaw drivers mistreating commuters, blocking the roads, parking as they like and calling the shots with the fares are just some of the issues passengers outside Vikhroli and Vidyavihar stations face every day. The absence of traffic police personnel in the vicinity makes matters even worse. At Ghatkopar it is complete chaos every single day.

The Railway Police Force (RPF) chowkie outside the station on the east and west exits have been closed for a long time, too.

Locals taking autos to and from Vikhroli station every day alleged that auto drivers at the station are abusive towards passengers and have no fear of the law.

Mario Rodrigues, chairman of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Vikhroli unit, said, "The rickshaw drivers have their own fare system with the share-autos to R City Mall being the most expensive. For a year, there hasn't been any inspection from police officers. The drivers take advantage of this ignorance.

Rickshaw bandra
The long and often haphazard queues for autos, along with auto-rickshaw drivers' random choice of pick-up and drop points has made the Ghatkopar station (west) a sore sight. Pic/ Suresh Karkera

Students of St Joseph's High School located right opposite Vikhroli station (West), along with their parents, often bear the brunt of the auto-rickshaw menace. "The rickshaw drivers stop their vehicles wherever they please to get their passengers," Rodrigues added.

Mario Rodrigues

Vikhroli residents claimed that this has been the case in the area for more than a decade. The problem is also that most commuters make do with the situation, believes Khan Massom Haider, 61. "It is because everyone's in a rush to reach office or college and we can't keep arguing with them. The frequency of buses is not great so we become vulnerable and comply with the rickshaw drivers," he said.

Vikhroli
Locals often given in to rude auto-rickshaw drivers for the lack of another option at Vikhroli and Vidyavihar

Same story at Vidyavihar

Vidyavihar station (West) is no different. Auto-rickshaw drivers ply at their own fares here. The drivers ask for Rs 45 for a ride to Phoenix Mall while it costs just Rs 30 on meter, they alleged. Jyoti Gowda, 16, who travels from Vidyavihar station to her tuition classes at Premier Road in Kurla, said, "I face this issue every day but I have to accept whatever fares they demand because I am mostly in a hurry."

Ashok Sharma, 28, said, "However much you try, you end up becoming a prey to these drivers' whims."

Chaos at Ghatkopar

Autos parked in a haphazard manner is an everyday scene at Ghatkopar station (West). Residents often have to wade through the congestion to find a rickshaw to their destination from the station. The struggle doesn't end with finding one either, the hard bargain over charges awaits them next, with the fares sometimes escalating up to Rs 20 for a distance that costs Rs 15 on regular days.

Being a hub for the suburban railway and the Metro to Versova, the station has been drawing heavy crowds, worsening the auto-rickshaw scene outside. Stepping out of platform 1 into Ghatkopar West is a nightmare for most commuters during peak hours.

Also Read: Mumbai: Signs to lead passengers to pre-paid stand at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus

The long queues for autos have become unmanageable for traffic cops. Signages about auto stands to various destinations are not followed and auto drivers pick up and drop passengers anywhere they like.

Voices 

Anna Ambrose - resident

Anna

'The rickshaw drivers are rude and even mistreat women. The normal fare from station to R City Mall is Rs 30 but the drivers demand whatever they like. They are also quite impolite with senior citizens and refuse to drop them at the destination of their choice'

Robert D'Souza - Bombay Catholic Sabha, Vikhroli

Robert

'We have complained about this for years but there's no change. The problem gets worse every day. We had even approached the traffic commissioner over this issue a long time ago but to no avail'

Bhumika Desai - a student

'I try to avoid taking a rickshaw and prefer walking until I find someone who goes by the meter or take a bus. But at times when I am in a hurry, I accept whatever fare they demand'

'In the morning, five passengers are accommodated in one auto, while in the evening, seven people are squeezed in'

Rash driving

Share-autos charging more than the nominal amount is a problem. However, what is not spoken about is how they charge more and indulge in rash driving. Passengers literally need to hold on for their safety. Auto drivers are neither bothered about their passengers nor about anyone else on the road. Pedestrians, too, have to be extra careful around auto driver who just want to reach their destination in the shortest time possible causing maximum discomfort to the passengers.

Hannah Jayan Varghese

BEST solution

The best solution to the auto menace according to me is to request BEST authorities to increase frequency from Bandra station (East) to BKC. Commuters can take BEST buses instead of dealing with auto drivers.

Other issues here include: 1. Sorry state of roads 2. Why can't RTO officers/police on duty stand before the signals instead of waiting for people to jump the signal and then nab them for violation? 3. Wrong-side driving on highways that are a major cause of accidents

Prakash Jadhav

Naigaon horror

I am a resident of Naigaon East. There are two routes that take me to the station and back — one via Tivri and another via Star City. In the morning, autos fit in five passengers while going to the station (two next to the driver). In the evening, seven passengers (four in the passenger seat and three in front) are squeezde in. They force women too into such arrangements. There are no cops in the area. Why isn't the revised Motor Vehicles Act applicable to auto-rickshaws?

Hepsi Suresh

Deliberate harassment

Outside Malad station, many seek auto-rickshaws plying towards Saraf College. Around 9 am one morning, all the auto-rickshaw drivers left the auto stand owing to an argument with some passengers, leaving 50 people stranded. These commuters soon began looking for autos on the road only to face rejections and confusion. Helpless and appalled commuters either had to walk all the way or stand in the middle of the road to wait for autos. This caused a lot of traffic and chaos on the road.

Duheeta Joshi

Everyday nightmare

I read the report about the auto mafia in mid-day. We face a nightmare every day while taking an auto-rickshaw from Kanjurmarg station auto stand. Please help.

Prasad Karulkar

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Also Read: Mumbai: Traffic cops are of no help at Bandra?

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Rape, molestation and loot: Horrific crimes by auto drivers in Mumbai
  • 1/15

    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

  • 2/15

    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

  • 3/15

    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

  • 4/15

    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

  • 5/15

    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

  • 6/15

    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

  • 7/15

    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

  • 8/15

    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.

  • 9/15

    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

  • 10/15

    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

  • 11/15

    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.

  • 12/15

    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

  • 13/15

    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

  • 14/15

    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

  • 15/15

    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

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