VISAKHAPATNAM: Traffic conditions in the city have hit the nadir with a steep increase in the number of autos. A report from the Road Transport Authority (RTA) reveals that the number of autos in the district is now 46,061 compared to 28,668 in 2013, more than seventy per cent of which ply on the city roads as well on the outskirts. The sudden increase shows the demand for them. Lack of proper cab services, unpunctual APSRTC city bus service and the autos providing shared services made autos indispensable to the City of Destiny.
Though the RTC plies 661 buses for the city service (404 city buses, 161 JnNURM and 25 Metro), they don’t meet the requirement of the city population. Time constraints and rush to reach destinations force commuters to opt for the auto. “Generally city buses don’t maintain timings. And they would be packed during peak hours. Instead of boarding those buses, it’s better to travel by an auto,” says T Praveen Kumar, a student.
The adverse side of the autos is the menace they create, giving the creeps to the motorists as well as pedestrians. Auto-drivers seem to care two hoots about the traffic rules and regulations. Rama Talkies Road, Maddilapalem junction, Venkojipalem and NAD junction are some of the areas where traffic is always chaotic. Drivers park their autos wherever they find commuters without any concern. The sudden stoppages turn out to be a threat for vehicles coming from behind.
Moreover, many of the auto-drivers seem to be minors, whose reckless speed and high-volume music discourage thousands of students who go by share autos to reach their colleges. As if the nuisance is not enough, autos from neighbouring towns and areas sneak into the city though the traffic department imposed restrictions on their entry.
According to the Traffic department statistics, around 380 autos were caught in an earlier drive for lack of documents, proper safety measures, over speeding and other violations. Admitting to the fact of auto menace even after taking measures, additional deputy commissioner of police (Traffic) K Mahendra Pathrudu told Express that there was an immediate need to act seriously on the issue. The traffic department would conduct more checks and authorise policemen to impose fine or take action on the auto drivers on the spot.