Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another boycott of autos brewing

Another boycott of autos brewing
Today’s strike by autowallahs has triggered angry responses from commuters, with several calling for a mass boycott of autos
Neethu.Reghukumar @timesgroup.com


With the city’s autowallahs going off the roads on Tuesday — this time, it is to press their demands for subsidies to buy digital meters and financial aid to purchase four-stroke autos — the patience of Bangaloreans is wearing thin.
There is a growing opinion that commuters should once again boycott autos on Wednesday — as they did on Aug 12 — to register their protest against tampered meters and the rude behaviour of many auto drivers.
A Bangalore Mirror reader, D Hemachandra Babu, has written asking people to boycott autos on Wednesday. He said,”By going on a strike on Tuesday, the auto drivers seem to have taken Bangaloreans for granted. They are assuming that they can strike at will. I request Bangaloreans to teach the auto drivers a lesson by boycotting autos on Wednesday, Sept 8, so that they incur a loss of income for one more day. Hope the public co-operates.”
Others are of a similar opinion. M V Nahusha Raj, honorary director, Bangalore Kidney Foundation, said, “Auto drivers in Bangalore go on strike on flimsy g r o u n d s . Fortunately, the city’s public transport system is a good standby on such occasions. Once the Metro Rail starts, demand for autos will dwindle. By resorting to such strikes, auto drivers are losing whatever goodwill they have. It will send the right message if people boycott them for two days.” Nahusha suggested that on the lines of the monthly Bus Day, citizens should boycott autos for two days in a month.
Shalini Majumdar, an IT professional, said, “Every time they keep increasing the fare and the government listens to them. We commuters have no say in the matter. Most of them are so rude. I have decided not to take an auto on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Shruthi, a junior designer with Big Design, said,”I feel we should boycott them on Wednesday. These autowallas charge one and a half times the fare even during the daytime. They concoct all kinds of excuses to extract more money from commuters. They should be taught a lesson.”
Speaking for the auto drivers, Srinivas Murthy, vice-president of the CITU-affiliated autorickshaw drivers’ union, said, “We suspect the boycott is being provoked by some officials or individuals. No one is really against the service provided by autos. We know there is a problem with drivers’ behaviour and meters, and we are working to improve this. We too will take up checking of meters.”

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