BENGALURU:Faced with complaints by commuters about unruly auto rickshaw drivers charging high fares outside Namma Metro stations, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is planning to introduce pre-paid auto rickshaw stands across all stations in Phase 1. Currently, 11 stations have these pre-paid auto stands and BMRCL is now in talks with the city traffic police to extend it to the remaining stations as well.
“There are a lot of auto rickshaw drivers who park outside the metro station in Yelachanahalli but refuse to ferry passengers. Most of the time, you end up getting into an argument with them because they demand excess fare, sometimes, even double the normal cost,” said Reshma BG, who stays JP Nagar. Elsewhere, the auto rickshaw drivers have been accused of taking up space on the footpath, not allowing passengers to exit the station.
According to a senior BMRCL official, a round of meetings with the traffic police had been held, in which the traffic police expressed their concerns about posting additional staff to man the pre-paid booths. “They have a staff shortage and this was the challenge. However, metro security manning these kiosks would not be effective as it is only the police which has the authority to fine auto drivers for refusing to go on hire or charging more. We hope to have another round of talks to iron out issues.”
In return, the BMRCL has offered to set up the infrastructure needed for the kiosks. “We will provide the shelter, the power supply and any other infrastructure needed. The police will have to supply the staff,” the official said. The move, if successful, is likely to be welcomed by many. “They must have a pre-paid auto rickshaw stand. Not everyone would want to take a bike on hire from the station and currently, cabs are too expensive to be a viable form of daily transport,” said Raghunath B, a resident of Kengeri.