Rogue auto,taxi drivers to be hit


Rogue auto, taxi drivers to be hit

MUMBAI: Rogue autorickshaw and taxi drivers could be in for a rough ride. The maximum number of complaints of refusals and overcharging comes from Andheri in the western suburbs and Kurla-Ghatkopar in the east. Now, with expected mass migration to the Metro in the vicinity, these rough drivers will see a visible drop in passengers, said sources in the transport industry.

"We are frustrated with rickshaw drivers, many of whom refuse to ply. Refusals are high in Saki Naka, Chakala, Andheri station area and in Andheri (West), especially Versova," said Sujit Mhatre, a marketing professional. "Now, we have a fitting reply for these rogues. We will travel by the Metro, which is faster and cheaper."

Another commuter said auto unions' fare hike demand was not justified as refusals were rampant. Auto union leader Thampy Kurien, though, defended the demands, and said the union will move court to seek a fare hike for two lakh auto drivers in Mumbai. "We deserve a hike, which has been denied to us for the past one and a half years, even as the cost of living index and fuel prices have gone up considerably," he said.

Some transport activists, though, are against a fare hike till the quality of service improves. "There is a huge demand for autos in Andheri East and West, and several commuters are left stranded. We had undertaken the campaign to bring justice to harassed passengers," said an activist involved with India Against Corruption. "At Andheri station, there is also the problem of auto drivers charging excess fares and ferrying more than the stipulated number of passengers (sometimes five)."

The RTO has not been able to curb the refusals menace and officials blame shortage of vigilance staff to tackle rogues.

Several metro commuters told TOI they were happy with the "alternative" to autos and buses on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor.

Ghatkopar's Prabha Gadhave said, "We don't have to be at the mercy of auto or taxi drivers anymore. We have a good transport system, which is transparent, affordable and faster. Also, we do not have to go through the trouble of paying more for waiting charges."



Date of Article: 
Saturday, June 14, 2014
The Times of India