BENGALURU: Prepaid auto stands near Metro stations have become a pressing need with autorickshaw drivers overcharging and low frequency of BMTC feeder buses.
At present, only M G Road Metro station has an operational prepaid counter. According to Bengaluru traffic police, the city has eight prepaid auto counters — City railway station, Majestic bus terminus, Cantonment railway station, Banaswadi railway station, M G Road, Yeshwantpur railway station, Mysore Road satellite bus stand and Forum Mall in Koramangala. However, many counters do not function.
Traffic police say they are ready to set up more prepaid counters, including at Metro stations. “We’re ready to set up more pre-paid counters if there are enough auto drivers willing to be part of the facility. It is difficult to run such counters without adequate number of auto drivers,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) R Hithendra.
Metro officials, however, are keen to have private app-based taxi counters and have already floated tenders. “We are planning to set up kiosks for app-based cab services at 30 metro stations to ensure last-mile connectivity,” said U A Vasanth Rao, Public Relations Officer of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.
BMTC operates nearly 70 Metro feeder buses but public patronage remains poor because of poor frequency of buses and lack of information on arrival and departure of feeder buses.
“Pre-paid auto counters and reining in on errant autorickshaws are the need of the hour,” said Ravi Kumar, a Metro passenger between Cubbon Park and Byappanahalli Metro stations.
He added, “There are hardly any BMTC feeder buses from Byappanahalli Metro station after 9pm. Auto drivers demand more than double the meter fare. Pre-paid counters will ensure that passengers are dropped at the destination they mention.”
Rudramurthy, general secretary, Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said, “We have been demanding BMRCL to provide space in Metro stations to set up pre-paid auto counters. But there has been no response. Authorities should also allow share auto services from Metro stations, which will work cheap for commuters.”