KOCHI: Besides autorickshaw drivers who continue to fleece commuters, the irregular working of the prepaid auto services at the railway stations too has hit the passengers hard. According to Maya Nair, a regular traveller, the lack of prepaid autorickshaw services at the back entrance of the South Railway station is causing hardships. “People who alight at the South Railway Station have to depend on prepaid booths set up at the front and the back entrance. Though the one at the front entrance functions regularly, the booth at the back opens rarely. And even if it does, it would require some divine intervention for an autorickshaw to come by,” she said.
The sight of the prepaid bill acts as a deterrent. “I had to wait for nearly 30 minutes for an auto near the prepaid booth. I noted that the auto drivers were not stopping due to the prepaid bill in my hand. But once I hid it, I was able to flag an auto. However, when I showed him the prepaid bill, he said, it won’t count and I will have to pay the fare he charges,” said Anusree Mathew, a government employee.
Apparently, the problem is being caused by a group of drivers who live in the nearby colony. An autorickshaw driver under the condition of anonymity said drivers other than the colony members are not allowed to provide service in the area. It becomes even more troublesome when these drivers refuse rides to nearby areas and if they do it will be for fares beyond imagination.
According to traffic police officers, the counter operates on all days. They said, “The city traffic police have taken the complaint seriously and assured to deal with the situation after conducting a probe.”
According to the autorickshaw drivers, the reason behind the drivers not cooperating with the prepaid service is the low rate. “On top of this, the online taxi services are eating into our portion of the revenue. We too have to make ends meet,” an auto driver said.(With inputs from Jery Joy Jimmy & Salva Joy)
Passenger say the lack of prepaid autorickshaws
at the back entrance of South Railway station is causing hardships