Friday, December 18, 2009

Reverse gear: Auto plan a flop, but more on cards

Reverse gear: Auto plan a flop, but more on cards

December 18th, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Tags: pre-paid autorickshaw concept

Dec. 17: Pre-paid autorickshaw stands in Bengaluru are being overhauled, with many of the existing ones shutting down and many more new ones planned for the city.
According to president of the Bangalore Auto Drivers Souharda Co-operative Ltd Somasekhara nearly all of the seven pre-paid auto stands which were started in the city a few years ago have closed down due to one or the other problem, including shortage of police constables to man them.
Despite the concept failing to take off, the transport department says a 1,000 new stands are in the offing in Bengaluru.
“We plan to set up the new stands in collaboration with the BBMP and autorickshaw unions. We realise there is a huge demand for pre-paid autos in the city because of the numerous complaints we receive against auto drivers demanding excess fare,” he adds.
While the City Railway Station, Cantonment Railway Station, Forum Mall in Koramangala and MG Road are the few places where pre-paid auto stands still exist, the stand near the Garuda Mall on Commissariat Road recently closed shop, much to the discomfort of those visiting it. Its place has been taken by numerous autos parked haphazardly outside Garuda Mall, haggling with shoppers and taking advantage of a late evening hour to harass them some more. “We don’t have an option but to take the autos we find outside the mall. They are very demanding, especially if it is late at night,” says a shopper, Kavitha Krishnamurthy. “The auto drivers we find outside most malls are rude and ill-mannered and if you refuse to meet their demands, they even abuse you,” says another visitor to a mall, Kushal Medappa.
Also, the few existing pre-paid auto kiosks other than those at the railway stations close much before the 10 pm deadline. The auto drivers say that the pre-paid stands are forced to wind up for the day early as the policemen manning them from 8 am to 10 pm, sometimes prefer to get away sooner.

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