Wednesday, August 04, 2010

‘Make them accountable’

‘Make them accountable’
Nina C George

Commuters feel that they are being held to ransom by autodrivers’ unnecessary and unreasonable demands

This time around when you take an autorickshaw, rest assured that you won’t have a feeling of deja vu at the end of the familiar drive between same destinations.

Depending on the driver, the type of the meter used and with the steep hike in auto fares, be sure that the hole in your pocket will be bigger this time.

The raise in auto fares from Rs 14 to Rs 17 and a Rs 9 for every kilometre thereafter has drawn flak from a cross-section of Bangaloreans. They are unhappy and are unanimous in their criticism and term the fare increase as “unnecessary and unreasonable”.

There are people who have found temporary relief in an alternative — buses. But they don’t see it as a permanent solution.

“The buses too have their hitches. They are crowded and take longer to reach,” is the common refrain among those who opted for buses after the recent hike.

Now that the new fares have been implemented by the government, commuters want that the auto drivers be made more accountable.

They hope the police will monitor meters and make sure they aren’t tampered with and that drivers don’t demand extra fare.

Meera M, an analyst, says that she always travelled by an auto, “Now, I have to think twice before taking an auto. I have started using Volvo buses as it’s comparatively cheaper and there are no hassles like rigged meters, fussy drivers and unwanted arguments,” says Meera.

Brojen Singh, an IT professional with Nokia says he has always kept autos as the last option, “The drivers always demand at least Rs 20 above the meter charge. Now with the hike in fares, taking the auto is a big ‘No’. It would be fair on a regular commuter only if the authorities ensure that the meters are in perfect condition,” Brojen points out.
Remya M, a banker observes that commuting by an auto has always been a pain but now it has turned into a nightmare.

“One always ends up paying double or even one and half. And after seven, the auto drivers demand whatever rate they want and hapless regulars like us are forced to give in,” says Remya.

Anju Iychettira, a housewife is looking forward to the Metro.
She feels it will go a long way in getting autos off the road, “It’s tough to move around the City without them but they must be made more accountable,” she sums up.

The auto drivers too are divided in their opinion. While a few hail the decision and see more profits coming their way, a few others think it will be a good two months before they stabilise.

They have understood that the fare is too steep and people are simply refusing to take the auto.

“We will have to run a loss for a month. People are not willing to pay so much. When the fare was Rs 14, I would manage to take home a decent sum of money but now even that seems far fetched,” says Sreenivas, an auto driver and a resident of K R Puram.

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