Auto drivers fleece commuters with festive season as excuse

Auto drivers fleece commuters with festive season as excuse

Travelling by an autorickshaw in this festive season may burn a larger hole in your wallet as most autorickshaw drivers are demanding extra fare.

 A case in point is that of 30-year-old Shuchi, resident of Cambridge Layout, Ulsoor, who boarded an auto near Lido Mall to go to her place barely three and a half km away. 

The auto driver forced her to pay an extra Rs 20 on top of  the meter fare, by claiming that it is the festival season and that nobody goes by the metre.  After trying to argue with the auto driver for almost ten minutes she finally gave in to his demand and paid him the extra amount.

 This is not a single incident. While auto drivers are notorious for overcharging in City, it is the festive season which gives them another reason to use the old tricks of the trade.  In the absence of any direct regulatory authority to tighten the noose around the auto drivers overcharging or not charging as per the meter, it is a free run for them. 

No monitoring system

While the traffic police officials do intervene at times after receiving complaints, in the absence of a regular monitoring mechanism, even they cannot do much about it.

When contacted, DCP (West Division Traffic) S Girish said, “We do monitor the fares of autos at prepaid booths, but it is physically impossible to keep an eye on all the autorickshaws in the City. We have given the complaint numbers and as and when we receive any complaints regarding overcharging, we take action against the auto driver. On an average, in my division, we usually get around 40-50 complaints in a month.”

 On the contrary, auto drivers claim that there are no welfare schemes for them by the State and they have nothing to fall back upon in order to run their families in the present day high inflation scenario and have no way but to resort to such measures especially during festivals.

Suresh, an autorickshaw driver said, “What shall we do madam, even we have to earn money. How will we run our families?” 

Not limited to festival

Hennah, an Iranian student, who has been living in the City from last six months says: “It is not just the festive season but throughout the year, auto drivers overcharge. The moment they see an outsider looking for a ride, they instantly ask for double the amount and simply refuse to go by the meter. Most of the time, I would not take such autos, but when I am in hurry I have no choice but to take the same autos.”

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