Auto drivers hit bandh jackpot

Auto drivers hit bandh jackpot

On first day of a two-day bandh, they collect up to 10 times the normal fare.

Auto drivers waiting for passengers outside the Cantonment railway station. Train passengers who arrived, and didn’t have a smartphones to book cabs, were at the mercy of drivers who demanded exorbitant fares.

It’s acche din for auto drivers. On Tuesday, first day of a two-day bandh, they made a killing, charging up to 10 times the normal fare.

Train passengers who arrived in the city with women and children.

Metrolife visited four railway stations and a bus terminal, and found auto drivers demanding up to Rs 1,000 for rides that normally cost just about Rs 100.


There were a more autos and auto drivers outside than passengers. The pre-paid auto stand was of little help as not many auto drivers were parking there.They were accosting passengers and negotiating rates. Stranded passengers: Those relying on autos had a bad time. Umesh Krishnan, who had just come in from Chennai, wanted to get to Yelahanka. “I refused to pay anything above the meter, that’s why I am stuck here without a transport. I don’t mind paying Rs 20 or Rs 30 extra but Rs 500 at one shot is unthinkable,” he said.
Fares from Cantonment railway station:
- Yelahanka New Town: Rs 600 (correct fare: Rs 250)
- M G Road: Rs 300 (correct fare: Rs 80)
- Indiranagar: Rs 400 (correct fare: Rs 120)
- Hennur: Rs 350 (correct fare: Rs 150)


Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) P Harishekaran has directed his men to keep an eye on the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday. “The traffic police will book cases against
two-wheeler riders speeding and not wearing helmets, and against auto drivers who overcharge and refuse to ply,” he told Metrolife.

Passengers alighting from trains at the Byappanahalli railway station had a hard time. Auto drivers sought between Rs 200 and Rs 500 for rides that otherwise would have cost between Rs 25 and Rs 75. The Metro station had just 50 per cent of the usual crowds. Mahesh, parking attendant, said, “Usually by 10 am, the parking lot is full up. We turn away people. But we have lots of space today.” The car park area was also near empty. On two-wheelers, the car park makes Rs 32,000 a day. Business was dull, and Mahesh did not expect even to touch the half mark.

Stranded passengers: Suresh Kaimal, who got off the Humsafar train, said “We have come here for a wedding and have to go to Naagarabhaavi. The auto driver charged Rs 500 and my relative who stays there said it doesn’t cost so much. I am stuck not knowing what to do and how to reach my destination.”

Auto fares from Byappanahalli:
- K R Puram: Rs 450 (correct fare: Rs 50 to 70)
- Indiranagar: Rs 250 (correct fare: Rs 70)
- M G Road: Rs 300 (correct fare: Rs 150)



Bengaluru East
Traffic policemen posted at the pre-paid auto counter at the Bengaluru East railway station were in cahoots with auto drivers jacking up prices. “Today is their day, not ours,” a passenger muttered.

Namitha Nambiar, who had travelled from Chennai, was trying to hail an auto to Maruthi Sevanagar near Banaswadi. “Every auto driver demanded Rs 300 or more,” she said.


Fares from Bangalore East Railway Station

- Yelahanka New Town: Rs 500 (correct fare: Rs 250)
- Basavanagudi: Rs 600 (correct fare: Rs 200)
- M G Road Metro station: Rs 300 (correct fare: Rs 100)


KR Puram
Many long-haul trains stop here, bringing passengers from cities across India. But because of the bandh, many had cancelled their trips. The few who came in were at the mercy of auto
drivers, who demanded a ransom. The Ola booking booth inside the station helped some passengers find rides at regular fares.

Stranded passengers: Famida Khan and her husband Mohammed Akbar, who reached KR Puram railway Station from Mumbai in the morning, were asked for Rs 400 to reach their house just 4 km away. The fare is usually about Rs 52. “Cabs were difficult to get. I finally booked a Meru cab but the driver is taking time to reach and refuses to take my calls,” Akbar said.

Fares from KR Puram railway station
- Rajajinagar: Rs 1,000 (correct fare: Rs 200 to Rs 250)
- Malleswaram: Rs 800 (correct fare: Rs 200)
- Indiranagar: Rs 500 (correct fare: Rs 100)

Shivajinagar bus station
The terminal was unusually quiet, with just a handful of buses driving in and out. Passengers stood around hoping all trips would resume. Kasturi, heading towards Ulsoor, had been  waiting for an hour but her usual bus hadn’t come. “No luck even to any place near Ulsoor,” she said.


Fares from Shivajinagar
- M G Road: Rs 100 (correct fare: Rs 25)
- Ulsoor: Rs 150 (correct fare: Rs 100)
- Mantri Mall: Rs 250 (correct fare: Rs 150)