Friday, February 23, 2007

Autos on call? Will the work?

Autoson call? will they work?
Vijay Times

City transport and police authorities seem to be on high octane these days to make Bangaloreans life a bit better. The latest idea theyre cooking up is intended to make autocratic autos fall in line and not harass the already stressed-out, harried and hapless Bangalorean.

Unfortunately, the plan has so many riders that a significant number of autos may be out of its ambit, nullifying the noble endeavour.

The Regional Transport Authority, in association with the Bangalore City police, wants to launch an easy auto service, a sort of 24/7 call centre which one can sms, email or phone for an auto.

The call centre will locate the auto nearest to the area and send it your way. The service, believes Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) M N Reddi, has many benefits -- no more refusal by auto drivers to come your way, no excess fare demand, safety of the passenger and, above all, reduction in traffic density.

Frequent auto users can register themselves for the facility by paying a nominal annual fee.

So far, so good. The problem arises regarding auto drivers becoming members as they have to meet stiff conditions.

The auto drivers should have clear documents, the vehicle must be fitted with gas to avoid pollution, and the drivers should at least attend a certified course from the traffic department on safe riding.

With such conditions, many of the around 75,000 autos plying in the City may prefer to stay away from the service so that they can continue to serve people like they are doing now.

These 75,000 autos cater to around 10 lakh commuters every day. The number of autos is huge even for a growing city like Bangalore. Still, complaints against drivers for refusing to come to ones destination and demanding excess fare only keep growing.

Reddi, however, is confident that the proposed service will work as his departments enquiries with the general public have shown that many are ready to stop using their vehicles if they can get autorikshaws without any hassle.

If the project takes off, it would to some extent reduce traffic congestion and the growing pollution in the City, he feels. According to him, many autorikshaw drivers unions have welcomed the proposal.


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