Bengaluru: Autos only for the rich, prepaid stands to be back
Most Bengalureans have been forced to pay much more than the metre rate for an auto ride, or have got into haggling, and later decided to walk to their destination.
Published: 06th December 2022 08:33 AM | Last Updated: 06th December 2022 08:33 AM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: Autorickshaw, which once boosted the public transport system, can be now afforded by only the rich and elite, with passengers being charged at least Rs 100 for a minimum of 1-2 km. The fleecing is expected to stop as the traffic police department is planning to reinstate the pre-paid autorickshaw stands and expanding them into other locations.
Most Bengalureans have been forced to pay much more than the metre rate for an auto ride, or have got into haggling, and later decided to walk to their destination. Audience and delegates faced difficulties reaching the Bengaluru Literature Festival 2022, which was being held at The Lalith Ashok Hotel. The drives charged at least Rs 100-Rs 150 from High Grounds to the venue. This is a microcosm of the city’s plight.
“They (drivers) do not go by metre and charge nothing at least Rs100, even when the metre shows the fare around Rs45-Rs60. The concept of one-and- half is gone. Once when I refused to pay, the driver bluntly told me to walk,” said Padmaja M, a septuagenarian.
It was also observed that they charge more near Metro stations, malls and other crowded places. Autorickshaw drivers argued they have to return empty in one of their trips. They have to cover for the rising fuel cost, they said. Defending the drivers, a union member said: “Since drivers pay exuberant charges to RTO for licence, and to buy or rent an autorickshaw, some are forced to charge more. Since aggregators also charge high, the metre run autos are also charging high.”
Around 1.40 lakh autos ply in Bengaluru, and each driver reportedly spends around Rs 1,000 per day for maintenance, say the union members. Special Commissioner, traffic, MA Saleem admitted that there is a problem, and said that the pre-paid autorickshaws will be reintroduced on MG Road and KSRTC bus stand in Majestic. They will also start the same on Commercial Street, Opera House, Forum Mall, Jayanagar 4th Block, and at other places. The system was halted because of the pandemic. “Citizens must immediately complain to 112 or to the nearest police station. We are also working on introducing a digital swiping system to keep a check on those charging more than the fixed rates. Stern action will be taken against those charging more,” he said.