Au­torick­shaw driv­ers don’t use e-me­ters, choosy about fares

COM­MUTERS HELP­LESS Left with no op­tion, res­i­dents are forced to give in to their de­mands; com­plain that au­tos are rarely parked at des­ig­nated stands

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - San­jana Bhalerao san­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: De­spite re­peated crack­downs against er­rant au­torick­shaw driv­ers by the re­gional trans­port of­fice (RTO) in Vashi, they con­tinue to refuse to run by the elec­tronic me­ter and de­cline fares as per their whims.

Many com­muters have com­plained that trav­el­ling to any area near Palm Beach road is a night­mare as it is im­pos­si­ble to find an auto that will ply by me­ter.

Al­though al­most 90% of au­tos in Navi Mum­bai have e-me­ters in­stalled, very rarely do they agree to use it. Fur­ther, it is com­mon for them to refuse fares to Palm Beach road, Nerul, San­pada and Sea­woods.

“We al­most never get com­muters for our re­turn jour­ney from Palm Beach road, hence we de­mand ex­tra money from the pas­sen­ger. If we ply by the me­ter to th­ese ar­eas, we will run huge losses,” said an auto driver from Vashi, on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

Urg­ing com­muters to com­plain against the high­hand­ed­ness of auto driv­ers, the RTO has cir­cu­lated a toll free num­ber to res­i­dents. Here, they can lodge a com­plaint against an auto driver with spe­cific de­tails such as the reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, the route on which the fare was re­fused, if the driver did not use the e-me­ter, the ex­cess fare charged and the time of the jour­ney.

The sit­u­a­tion is equally bad for some­one who wants to travel to Sea­woods.

“In the rare sit­u­a­tion that they agree to travel to Sea­woods, auto with elec­tronic me­ters will still ask for ex­tra money. They say auto driv­ers from Sea­woods don’t al­low them to pick up pas­sen­gers and so they have to come back with an empty ve­hi­cle,” said Swati Mehra, a res­i­dent.

“We have to agree to pay the ad­di­tional amount as there is no al­ter­nate op­tion.”

Com­muters also com­plained that auto driv­ers don’t park their ve­hi­cles at the des­ig­nated stands, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult to spot them.

“This not only leads to in­con­ve­nience to com­muters, but also traf­fic snarls,” said K Iyer, a Kopar Khaine res­i­dent.

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