Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Some auto drivers didn't want the hike

Some auto drivers didn't want the hike

Aparajita Ray

What is seldom talked about in reports on the hike in fuel prices and the revision in the fares of autorickshaws is the fact that some auto drivers too have not been enthusiastic about the hike in fares. S Vishwanath, general secretary of the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA), in conversation with Aparajita Ray, says that commuters forget that even though there are a few dishonest auto drivers, the majority of drivers are honest.

So was the demand for an upward revision in auto fares one that came from the auto drivers' unions? Do you think the auto drivers as individuals were not entirely enthused by the idea?
I regularly ride autos. I have interacted with many auto drivers who have spoken against the hike in fares to me. While the unions demanded that the initial two km of the ride be charged Rs20, there were auto drivers who said that Rs17 was the more reasonable hike.

Are auto drivers happy with the revised fares?
If you get out on the roads and interact with auto drivers, you'll find that a good number of them say that they were not consulted before the revised fares were announced. In any case, just consider—if you give an auto driver Rs20, what are the chances that he will have Rs3 to offer you back as change? Most people tend to blame the driver for not returning change, and it is quite likely that a lot of passengers will have the impression that even the Rs8.50 rate for each km exceeding the first two was fixed in such a way as to benefit the auto driver.

Do you think the move might be aimed at getting people to use buses more? I don't think so, there is no game being played in this matter, really.

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