Friday, July 30, 2010

Are citizens fighting shy of shared autos?

Are citizens fighting shy of shared autos?
Though Unions Have Initiated A Feasibility Study, They Feel More And More Bangloreans Will Take To This System Only If Major Areas Adopt It
Prashanth G N | TNN

Bangalore: If commuters in Hyderabad and Kolkata can share an autorickshaw, why not those in Bangalore? After the steep fare revision, which comes into effect from August 1, some auto unions have themselves mooted the idea and even initiated a feasibility study for moderate to long commutes.
In such autos, three to five commuters share the fare over a particular distance. For example, if the rate from Vijayanagar to M G Road is Rs 60, three commuters pay just Rs 20 each when they travel together, a saving of Rs 40 for each. For regular commuters, this could result in substantial monthly saving.
READY TO TRY IT OUT
Adarsha Auto Union and Taxi Drivers president M Manjunath said the union, along with a couple of others, has initiated a study on where and how this system can be introduced in the city. “We’re looking at separate stands for these autos which will have different boards too. Initially, they could ply to particular locations from a single point and those destinations could have a common alighting point. We’re checking if they could ply between 8 am and 11 am as well as 4 pm and 7 pm.”
Destinations could be office areas or from where other autos and buses are easily available. For example, there could be shared auto from Jayanagar Shopping Complex to Shivajinagar/ M G Road, Majestic, Indiranagar, HAL airport; from Shivajinagar to HAL airport to Whitefield; from Silk Board to Electronic City and from one residential area to another over moderate to long distances. Even short distances can have shared autos wherein three commuters can pay just Rs 6 to reach a destination just 2km away.
Shared autos currently ply between Vijayanagar and Moodalpalya on Nagarbhavi Main Road, inner areas of Goripalya/ JJ Nagar, between Shivajinagar and Tannery Road where commuters pay between Rs 5 and Rs 10 for short distances.
BUT THE HITCH
Auto unions say Bangaloreans may take to this system once it’s launched in major areas. “We need demarcated boarding and alighting points. Passengers can divide the amount and pay their share regardless of whether they get down at the final destination or somewhere in-between. We don’t know whether stage-bystage charges would be profitable for us.”
All 80,000 to 1 lakh autos won’t be part of this system; only 10 to 20 autos in each area will be earmarked for it. The unions will decide the number of autos for this system.
Transport department officials say if all autos have to switch over to the sharing system, an amendment would have to be brought to existing regulations along with cabinet approval. The nature of permits for autos would have to be changed from contract carriage permit to stage carriage. This means that auto charges have to be fixed for every stage, like in buses. The Rs 30 fare from M G Road to Majestic would be divided as per stages with each stage having a fixed amount.
“Having a dedicated batch of 25 or 30 autos from one point to another would require an amendment of regulations. It is a policy decision and the nature of permit changes. I sought such a proposal but no one has come forward with it,” transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao said.

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