Crackdown on taxis proves a blessing for autos

Drivers to have safety forums; cab firms offer sops

Crackdown on taxis proves  a blessing for autos

After crying hoarse over the fare wars between taxi services, it is back to business for autorickshaws in the City. The government’s recent crackdown on certain taxi operators for not following the rules has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the auto drivers.

The action by the State transport department following the rape incident involving the Uber cab driver in Delhi, against taxi operators, has come as a boon for autos when they were being increasingly shunned as taxi fares were comparatively lower.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, Manjunath, president of Adarsha Autorickshaw Drivers Unions, said, “Even though takers for these taxis were only 20 per cent of our total commuters, comprising mainly personnel from IT/BT companies, the rest never left us.
But, it did have some impact on our business. After the rape incident, people have reposed their faith back in us,” he said.

He added that all unions of autorickshaw drivers are coming up with passenger safety forums in January, wherein drivers will create awareness among the public about the various steps taken to ensure that auto rides are much safer and approved by the traffic police.

Says Urvashi, a 24-year-old advertisement professional, “I would earlier travel in autorickshaws for my daily commutes to work and for meeting clients, even though I would be unhappy due to rude auto drivers and some asking for Rs 20 to Rs 30 extra over meter fare. So I switched to taxis which are a lot economical. But after the Delhi rape incident, I have gone back to the autorickshaws. At least, the driver details are displayed in the auto. It is much safer to pay little extra than risk my life with a taxi driver who is driving for an app-based service”.

The taxi operators who are hit by the sudden crisis are also leaving no stone unturned to keep their business going, with free rides, discounts and emphasis on fulfilling the conditions laid by the transport department.

Online identification
Meru cabs is exploring the option of online driver identification inside the cab every few hours, before a booking is assigned through Aadhaar biometric scan. An official from Meru said, “

This will be a foolproof way to identify that only the authorised person is driving the cab. Currently, there are challenges in having a biometric scanner integrated with the driver's data terminal and its smooth functioning, but we are confident of resolving this issue over the next few months,” he added.

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