Hand­ful of au­tos on roads charge up to 200% of the nor­mal fare

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: With only a hand­ful of au­torick­shaws ply­ing in the city, com­muters ended up pay­ing al­most 200% of the usual rates for reach­ing their des­ti­na­tions on Thurs­day. In one in­stance, an auto driver re­port­edly charged Rs 500 for a dis­tance of 2km. The fares of app­based cabs also surged by three times the usual amount dur­ing peak hours.

Com­muters at rail­way sta­tions and bus ter­mi­nals com­plained about over­charg­ing and re­fusal by auto and cab driv­ers. Dur­ing peak hours, auto driv­ers charged fares based on the head­count. While most re­fused to travel long dis­tances, those tak­ing pas­sen­gers on short routes charged ex­or­bi­tant fares.

Out­sta­tion com­muters, who were caught un­awares by the strike, were the most har­ried lot. They were shocked by the high fares quoted by the auto driv­ers. Those who opted for app­based cabs were left stranded.

Ankita Dubey, a pho­tog­ra­pher who had ar­rived from Kan­pur, failed to con­vince auto driv­ers to take her from Anand Vi­har ISBT to Preet Vi­har. “Af­ter some­time, a driver, who was not wear­ing a pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cle uni­form, ap­proached me and asked for Rs 1,000 for the trip. I had to agree since there were no op­tions. He even took the fare in ad­vance in case I was asked to de­board mid­way,” she added.

Pas­sen­gers com­plained that the pres­ence of traf­fic po­lice­men hardly acted as a de­ter­rent for the er­rant auto and cab driv­ers.

“I found it very dif­fi­cult to get a cab from my house in Janakpuri to IGI air­port in the morn­ing. While the usual fare for this dis­tance ranges between Rs 250 and Rs 280, the fare to­day was Rs 670. More­over, I had to wait for 40 min­utes for the cab to ar­rive,” said Sneha Sharma, who works in an MNC. “When the cab ar­rived, the driver can­celled the ride. He asked me to pay him the fare in cash up­front to take me to the air­port. I had no op­tion but to pay him,” she added.

Asked about the surge in fares and un­avail­abil­ity of cabs, an Uber spokesper­son said: “We strive to pro­vide re­li­able and safe trans­port op­tions to get around the city and hope to min­imise any dis­tress to our rid­ers.” Ola re­fused to com­ment on the strike.

There were many peo­ple who were unaware of the strike. “I wasted half an hour at Kash­mere Gate ISBT hag­gling with auto driv­ers be­fore one of them told me about the strike,” said Man­ish Bansal, who had re­turned from Shimla with his fam­ily.

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