In the absence of fare meters in autorickshaws, pre-paid auto booths were set up at several locations in Gurgaon to check overcharging. However, the booths have failed to attract commuters and auto drivers because of the defunct computers and printing machines.
Pre-paid auto booths have been installed at locations, including the five DMRC metro stations, near old bus stand and the Gurgaon railway station to tackle the problem of overcharging by autorickshaw drivers. But with no or defunct computer systems and an average of four men, the booths are dependent on plain sheets of paper and pens to make prepaid slips.
“These booths generate prepaid slips manually, which takes a lot of time. The same work can be done in seconds if there were proper machines. Since it takes so much time, which often results in long queues, people prefer hiring autorickshaws by themselves even though auto drivers overcharge,” said an official at the pre-paid booth.
Currently, the average number of slips generated at the booths does not exceed 300. Even at the Huda City Centre Metro station, where thousands of commuters hire autos every day, the number does not exceed 300. On Thursday evening, only 275 slips were issued.
“In the morning, I have two options, either to get late for work waiting for a prepaid slip or quickly take an auto and pay `10 or `20 extra. Most of us prefer the second option. The slow functioning of the booths have affected the commuters and given auto drivers the opportunity to charge more per ride,” said Dheeraj Guaba, a daily commuter.
“There are just four people handling hundreds of autorickshaws and thousands of commuters. It is always easier to pick a commuter right from the spot, instead of waiting in the long lines. The administration should look into the matter and install fare metres,” said a traffic official.
Even autorickshaw drivers said that if the fare meters are installed or the prepaid booths are functional, it will be a relief for them.
Swades Kumar, an autorickshaw driver stationed at MG Road Metro station said, “It is unfair to say that autos run on 100%profit. The police penalises us and at times commuters pay less than the cost incurred. But we cannot debate or complain. Fare meters or functional prepaid booths will allow us to charge the correct fare.”