Mumbai: Rude auto drivers in Kandivli, Jogeshwari fear no one
Surge pricing, overloading rickshaws, bullying passengers are just some of the traits of auto-rickshaw drivers in Kandivli, Jogeshwari
Cab aggregators are not the only ones making the most of a bad situation. Autos in Kandivli arbitrarily hike their rates exactly when demand is high and supply low, which is during peak hours. This pricing is one of the most frustrating issues commuters face at Kandivli where auto drivers charge Rs 20 for a shared ride from Lokhandwala to Kandivli station (East) against the RTO-approved Rs 14.
The exorbitant fares apart, passengers also fear for their lives as drivers often cram around six passengers in one auto. Autos ply to various locations like Damu Nagar, Hanuman Nagar, Mahindra Company gate and Lokhandwala from Kandivli railway stations with the RTO having decided the fares to each destination. Officials have even put up a fare chart outside the railway station. Both commuters and auto drivers are aware of the authorised fares yet nobody follows it despite several complaints to authorities. The fare surges in the morning and evening peak hours.
Share autos ply five to six passengers in one rickshaw at Kandivli, and Jogeshwari, with the traffic cops not acting against them, citizens alleged. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
"There is a long queue for share autos at Lokhandwala circle every morning. No rickshaws agree to ply by the meter. The frequency of buses is also low and they are packed. So, we have to pay '20 to share a rickshaw with five other passengers," said a regular commuter. The traffic on Akurli Road on the way to the station is also bad, which ensures a travel time of 20 to 30 minutes for a distance of 1.5 km.
The auto-rickshaw drivers demand the high fare owing to this traffic menace, the commuter said. "But six passengers in one auto directly affects our safety," said Archana Jain, who takes a share auto to work every day.
Parking woes, too
Errant parking of autos, trucks, and heavy vehicles on both sides of the roads in the Lokhandwala area is another issue. It ends up blocking the already narrow lane. Local residents highlighted the lack of parking space near the railway station.
"If the railways or BMC provide parking facility at the station, many of us can take our two-wheelers. It will automatically reduce the burden on rickshaws and buses," said Dr Pratik Dedhia, another regular commuter on the route.
Auto drivers bully passengers
Jogeshwari residents share the pain of their fellow citizens from Kandivli. mid-day's visit to S V Road in Jogeshwari West revealed that traffic rules are flouted left, right and centre. There is an auto-rickshaw stand near McDonalds outside the station where passengers get share autos towards Behrambaug, Gandhi School and Anand Nagar but there is no official auto stand board.
The list of RTO-approved share rickshaw stands, however, has Jogeshwari West on it with the destinations stating Millat Nagar, Adarsh Nagar and Goregaon Bus Depot. The passengers must pay '16, '16 and '14 for the shared trip respectively, the RTO list says.
Auto drivers, however, charge '10 per passenger as they ferry four people in one rickshaw. From S V Road to Millat Nagar, there are around four traffic signals with traffic cops at each one, but they turn a blind eye to these drivers breaking rules.
At Behrambaug too, the picture was similar — four passengers in one auto. Sujit Sonkar, a local resident said that there were a number of illegal autos plying locally. "Everyone knows it, even the traffic police do but they don't take any action," he alleged.
Autos at Jogeshwari mid-day noticed also had headlights broken and dysfunctional meters. Some drivers did not wear uniforms while others did not have a badge.
"The drivers bully passengers and even abuse them if someone tries to argue. Many of them drive on the wrong side of the road during traffic jams putting lives at risk," said a regular commuter at Behrambaug.
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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Mumbai auto drivers on strike