The city’s biggest auto union, the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union, wants the state government to sanction another 400 share-rickshaw stands in the suburbs. Currently, there are 93 such stands spread across the eastern and the western suburbs.
Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of the union, said the stands will benefit commuters as they will then not have to deal with problems such as fare refusals and rigged meters.
“Share-rickshaw schemes make economical sense and they are convenient for commuters. Compared to the number of commuters in the city, the number of autos is less. Through share-rickshaws, more people can commute in autos, especially during rush hours,” said Rao.Besides, said Rao, auto drivers in this scheme are usually locals and known to commuters, which makes travel safe.
Despite having requested the Regional Transport Offices to authorise more auto stands, Rao said the officials have done nothing.
Swapnil Newalkar, 31, a Virar resident who works as a gym trainer and uses the stand outside Kandivli (east) station, said: “I am happy with the share-rickshaw system as it is convenient and easy on the pocket. The bus fare is and the share-rickshaw fares are the same at Rs10, so it does not make a difference.”
Dharmendra Gupta, 38, who has been driving autos since the past decade at Kandivli (east), said: “I sometimes ply passengers on share-rickshaw stands and sometimes on meter. People prefer to share as it works out to be much cheaper.”
Shirish Thakur, additional transport commissioner, said: “Constructing share-rickshaw stands is a continuous process that is handled by the RTO, the traffic department and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority. The authorities are constantly working to set up more stands.”