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
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.