Monday, August 23, 2010

Share autos, travel hassle-free

Share autos, travel hassle-free

Efforts on to launch a city-wide autorickshaw-pooling next month; the system ensures that honest drivers earn a fixed monthly income

Aparajita Ray



Bangaloreans seem to have pulled out a coup of sorts to address the menace of autorickshaws. Taking cue from the successful car-pooling, they have initiated autorickshaw-pooling/sharing, or auto-pooling/sharing, to harness the advantages of the privately-owned public transport mode and do away with all its pitfalls.
An auto-pooling initiative undertaken by Seetharam Vishwanath, general manager, Outer Ring Road Companies Association(ORRCA), has gathered pace and 200-odd companies and 500-odd Bangaloreans have formed an auto-sharing fraternity.
In fact, the ORRCA is currently trying to streamline its autorickshaw-pooling programme in a structured manner. If everything falls in place, a city-wide launch of the auto-pooling is likely by September-end or early October.
The motto is simple: if hiring autorickshaw seems to be a hassle, then pool in and rent an autorickshaw. If implemented on a wider scale, autorickshaw-pooling might not only blunt the menace of the drivers but also reduce the traffic congestion.
"My neighbours complained heavily about auto drivers who denied to go on hire, charged excess fare and misbehaved too. Then an idea struck me and while commuting to and from my workplace, I took numbers of all those autorickshaw drivers who drove sensibly and obeyed traffic rules. I circulated their numbers among 200-odd companies on the ORR and 500-odd individuals, including residents of my apartment. Today, there are many who rent an autorickshaw for an entire month to pick up and drop them from their offices at a particular time and are benefited," said Vishwanath.
He said the system would ensure that good and honest auto drivers could earn a fixed income monthly and aspire for a better living condition.
Residents of Vishwanath's Spartacus Apartment in Jayanagar 4th T block have made a new beginning in sharing autos with others and using them just like city cabs.
"We have a sort of database of some 20-odd autorickshaw drivers and we call one of them whenever we need their services. We do not have to wait for autos at the stand or on the road. The auto arrives at our doorsteps or any particular point from where two or three people who would be wanting to take the same route will board the vehicles. We pay the driver after trip most of the time; sometimes we pay them on a monthly basis," said Raghu, one of the residents availing the facility.
The auto-pooling system is helping drivers earn a regular income and hit the road during fixed hours.

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