KOCHI: The Motor Vehicles Department has initiated strict action against auto drivers for poor treatment of passengers. As per the numbers provided by the City Traffic Police (East), five cases were registered between June and October for bad behaviour. During the same period, 18 cases were registered for plying without fare meter and five were recorded for signal violation. Nine cases were registered for reckless driving while 11 cases for obstructing traffic. Three cases were registered for drunken and reckless driving.
“Recently, a family from Kasaragod was picked by an auto driver from Ernakulam South Railway Station at night. The auto driver took them around the city promising to arrange accommodation. Not only he failed to do it, the driver also charged Rs 800. We received a complaint and the auto driver and owner were summoned to the RTO office and the case was found to be genuine.
The licence of the driver was uspended and the owner was charged a fine of `1,000,” said K Manoj, joint RTO. The auto driver and owner were also sent to the Institute of Driving Training and Research, Edappal, for training. “The cases of bad behaviour towards passengers are increasing steadily. The offenders are forced to attend classes on traffic awareness, psychology and public conduct,” added Manoj.
The major complaint passengers raise is fleecing by drivers. Ironically, only two offences were registered from June to October. “The real number will be more. But, people are hesitant to complain,” said a traffic official.
According to MVD
officials, only a small section of drivers engage in such acts. “However, the price is paid by all drivers. The maximum number of offences are registered against drivers who ply at night hours. They are mostly from outskirts or other districts,” he added.
According to the authorities, political parties often come to the rescue of errant drivers. “Whenever we try to take strict action, trade unions and organisations come to the rescue of these drivers,” he added. “Offences against the passengers will not be tolerated. Anyone with a complaint can send a detailed mail to email@example.com with the vehicle’s registration number and other details. If the complaint is genuine, strict measures will be taken,” said Manoj.
According to Kochi City Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare, the errant drivers get away with such acts as people hesitate to complaint. “In most cases, passengers pay the excess charge to avoid an altercation. When travelling as a family, most of them avoid arguments. Also, the passengers are afraid of drivers as the latter have connections with the trade unions. Kochi, being a smart city, should ensure the safety of residents. All that the passenger has to do is to dial 100 when an problem arises,” he added.
Nine cases were
registered for reckless driving while 11 cases were registered for obstructing traffic. Three cases were registered for drink driving.