Commuters at a crossroads

Double trouble

Commuters at  a crossroads

Rate issues: The prepaid auto stand on M G Road.

It’s always been a hassle to travel by an autorickshaw. Now, with the revision in auto fares from Rs 14 to Rs 17 and Rs 9 for every subsequent kilometre, the commuter is forced to think twice before hiring an auto.

Faulty meters and demand for excess fare only add to the problem. Many commuters are left at crossroads when it comes to payment. This being the situation, citizens make an effort to go to these prepaid auto-stands thinking they would be safe and wouldn't be looted. But is that the reality? Metrolife talks to commuters to find out what they think of the prepaid system.

Prepaid autos were introduced in the City a few years back to avoid commuters from being ripped off. The prepaid stands are at M G Road, Koramangala at Forum, near Commercial Street, Cantonment area, Vasanthnagar and four counters in Majestic, with two near the KSRTC bus stand and two near City Railway Station.

“There are prepaid counters at all railway stations and major bus stops. I think they are very reasonable as you don’t get bullied by the auto guys,” says Lorna, a professional. The counters at stations are open 24 hours and take Re one as service charge and give a computer generated bill. Other counters run from 10 am to 10 pm on all days, after which the autos run on one-and-a-half rate above the meter reading. “It is good to use prepaid autos because others usually ask for more over and above the meter reading. And most meters are tampered with,” says Sachin, a student. With pre-decided rates for destinations, everything should be functioning smoothly but it’s not all that hunky dory.

“The prepaid autos never take you to the exact place, but leave you in and around the area saying the payment was only till that point,” says Dimple, a student. “There are very few people who opt for prepaid autos because they don’t have the patience to stand in the long queues,” says Jomon, a professional.  Also, it becomes difficult to get autos in the evening. “No autos come to prepaid stands because they can’t demand extra fares then,” says Sam, a student. In such cases only a traffic policeman can help. “Almost all counters have cops and it’s only their presence that helps passengers get an auto to their required destination,” says Manish, a student.

While everyone agrees that going to these auto stands is far better than hiring an auto on the road, the problems and the availability become hurdles, deterring them from using the prepaid service. 

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