A kid too many!
Overloaded autorickshaws are a common sight in the City. Many parents send their children to school by auto — since they have no other choice — but despite repeatedawareness drives by the Bangalore Traffic Police, auto drivers continue to
fill their vehicles beyond capacity.
For them, an extra child translates to extra moolah and they don’t seem to care about safety — as long as they get their money.
The traffic police has launched a fresh month-long drive to discourage autorickshaws from ferrying more than four to six children at a time, but the success of such an initiative is still under question.
Metrolife interacted with the Bangalore Traffic Police, RTO, autorickshaw drivers and spoke to a few parents to understand how this issue is being tackled.
of police (traffic and safety), M A Saleem says, “We have already clamped down on 4,000 autos that were overloaded. We send them to the court and in the first instance itself, they will have to pay a fine of Rs 2,000. In case of subsequent offences, we
will recommend cancelling their permits”.
The dangers of overloading autos are illustrated by statistics: 2010 saw 31 fatal cases and 468 non-fatal case; in 2011, there were 28 fatal and 420 non-fatal cases and in 2012 (till June 30), there have been 18 fatal and 163 non-fatal cases.
“We spotted the maximum violations in Fraser Town and Banaswadi, which are not only interior areas but have the maximum schools located in and around the place,” adds Saleem.
The RTOs say they’re doing everything they can to ensure that private vehicles don’t
A senior officer with the department explains that it is illegal for private cars and autos to transport kids.
“They need a special permit from the RTO. When we launch special drives to check this trend, we detain close to 100 autos and a fine of Rs 2,000 is slapped on the offenders,” says the officer.
He explains that when these offenders are caught repeatedly for the same
offence, their licence is cancelled. Parents who send their children by autorickshaws say that they usually carry out a background check of the driver.
Krishna, who sends his three children to school by auto, says, “We’ve known
this auto driver for a while. He makes a couple of trips and usually refrains from overloading.”
Shibu K, who works for an IT company in Marathahalli, points out, “It’s sad to see that most autos in the City are overloaded. They don’t care about the safety of children. They never stick to the permitted four to six kids. I have found a responsible auto
driver who is careful with our children.”
Private vehicle operators who transport kids to school do it for some extra income. Sagaya Raj, an auto driver, says he makes sure he doesn’t take more than six kids in the auto. “We have permission to take six or seven children. Overcrowding means we will have to pay a fine,” he says. Sagaya Raj makes more than Rs 10,000 a month from these school trips. He does five or six trips a day.