Blatant disregard for the rules

Blatant disregard for the rules

Prepaid auto counter is perhaps a safer option for those who are tired and disgusted of the tantrums thrown by the autorickshaw drivers in the City.

However, it sometimes seems like the traffic police present at these counters are hand-in-glove with the auto drivers — in some instances, they don’t pay any attention to customers who complain of autorickshaw drivers demanding extra fare, right in front of them.

Many Bangaloreans confirm that they have faced such a situation. “I feel let down when the police official makes a receipt according to the convenience of the auto drivers. The cop adds an extra amount just to please the auto drivers and often, does not even refer to the rate chart. I feel they have a mutual understanding and that is the reason they
listen to each other,” says Raouf, a professional.

The rate chart is indicative and states the approximate fare; however, it is hardly referred to and Bangaloreans point out that most cops prefer asking the auto drivers about the fare.

“The rate chart is tucked away somewhere. I have hardly seen the traffic policemen using these charts. Most of the time, they check with the auto drivers who demand an amount which is definitely more than what the meter indicates. What is the benefit of going to a prepaid counter if we get cheated?” questions Niroop, a student.

The auto drivers, however, refute this and explain that they might request the policeman for some extra money if it is late in the night or the place is far off, but they are not in any position to make arbitrary demands.

 “We don’t demand anything extra. If the traffic policeman asks us what the approximate fair is, we tell them. Sometimes, when the customer wants to go somewhere which does not fall on the route we want to take, we ask for some extra money.

I never demand an unfair amount at the prepaid counters,” insists Huda Pasha, an auto driver. Many citizens point out that often, the auto drivers refuse to ply in the presence of the cops.

“Evenings are the most difficult time to get an auto. Most auto drivers refuse to ply to nearby areas and even if they do, they ask for an exorbitant fare. They don’t listen to the cops and in most cases, I have noticed that the cops don’t force them either,” adds Magesh, a student.  

M A Saleem, additional commissioner of police (traffic), says that the rates are indicative and they differ from one place to the other in the same area.

“It is our strict instruction that the rates will be decided according to the kilometres and sometimes, when the traffic officials don’t know about the approximate distance or the area, they ask the auto drivers. We have around 16 prefixed auto counters here and all of them follow the same rule. The rates stated on the charts are indicative and can change,” he explains.

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