Despite the convenience to commuters and added benefits to auto drivers, Rickshawale, the first dial-a-rickshaw service in the city, is unauthorised, according to the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union and the Regional Transport Office.
Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of the union, said that ‘convenience’ is not a valid excuse for over-charging customers. He said: “To avail of this service, you have to pay Rs 20 as convenience charge irrespective of the distance you are traveling, which is practically looting the customer. For short distances, you might actually end up paying more money as convenience charge than the actual fare.” Rao added that the service was not legal, or authorised by the state transport department.
Shirish Thakur, additional transport commissioner, said: “As far as I know, the service is not authorised.”
Commenting on the perks and additional income provided to auto drivers, Rao said: “The service provider asks for a deposit of Rs 1,500 to 2,000 from auto drivers before enrollment. They should make up their mind whether they want to create sales agents or provide good service .”
However, Manoj Kumar, a 22-year-old auto driver, said: “I have been driving a rickshaw for three years. If it provides me with additional income, why would I not join hands with the service?”