Friday, August 13, 2010

Meters were not quite jammed, but a beginning has been made

Meters were not quite jammed, but a beginning has been made

Things will change for the better, promise autorickshaw drivers' associations

Vaishalli Chandra & Aparajita Ray

Of course there was a Meter Jam on Thursday, but some could not avoid taking the 'inevitable ride'. The much-publicised Meter Jam received a mixed response from the commuters in Bangalore.
Many who took the autorickshaw were in for a pleasant surprise. "In the morning I had no option but to take an autorickshaw as I was getting late. I think the jam really made a difference as they agreed without asking for extra fare," said HR professional Rinchen Wangdi.
Sejal Shah, a 19-year-old student, opted for a bus ride in support of the Meter Jam campaign. "Bus rides are not that horrible after all," said Shah.
Another student, Deepa Chandrashekar, who also avoided autorickshaws, spent Rs400 on a cab. "To make full use of the cab, I went out for shopping with my mother," said the mass communication student.
Shreya G, a copywriter, supported the campaign by taking her bike out after a long time. "I will go back to autorickshaws as riding in the city is taxing."
The autorickshaw associations said they were unaffected, a claim also backed by the drivers. "Business is okay. Autorickshaws are fast and are not crowded like buses," said Rajesh, an autorickshaw driver.
Meanwhile, the autorickshaw unions said they were planning measures aimed at addressing the commuters' concerns. M Manjunath, president, Adarsha Auto Union, informed DNA that the unions met up to take note of the issue. "We plan to arrange a press meet on Wednesday to announce a few commuter-friendly changes," said Manjunath.
"We plan to train autorickshaw drivers on etiquette. In about 3-4 months we should have a proper system in place where commuters can call the help desk. We plan to have a Namma Auto scheme which will come to the aid of these hassled commuters. Autorickshaws will also have cameras installed."
Also proposed is a helpline number which can be used by commuters to lodge complaints. The unions said that there would be a change for the better. Manjunath also announced the plan to reward commuters and autorickshaw drivers who alert the union about tampered meters. "Drivers will be awarded Rs20,000 and citizens Rs10,000, if they help us track down tampered meters.


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