Fares hiked, but auto, taxi drivers still tell commuters to take a walk
With the steepest hike of autorickshaw and taxi fare in effect from October 11, several commuters thought they would get better service. But most claimed that the hike had not changed anything.mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2012 01:34 IST
With the steepest hike of autorickshaw and taxi fare in effect from October 11, several commuters thought they would get better service. But most claimed that the hike had not changed anything.
“These auto drivers still refuse fare for minimum distance. I wanted to travel from Andheri Kurla Road to Chakala and was refused at least five to six times,” said Reena Gupta, 38.
As part of HT’s campaign against errant autorickshaw and taxi drivers, two reporters decided to investigate the issue.
Our reporters sought help from senior inspector P Temkar of the Vakola traffic police and senior inspector R Sonavane of Mahim traffic outpost.
During our investigation, we found several auto drivers at Santacruz and taxi drivers at Mahim refusing to ply.
HT reporters’ experiences across the city
‘Driver started to argue with the cops’
Since many commuters complain about auto drivers refusing to ply to the international airport from Centaur junction, I decided to take that route.
Around 4:30pm, I flagged down an auto (MH 02 VA 8232) and asked the driver whether he would go to the airport. He refused saying he was heading to Bandra (West). He was about to speed away when traffic constable Anil Bhagwan Rao, who was waiting for my signal, stopped him.
The driver, Uma Shankar Patel, 26, a resident of Santacruz (West), argued that he hadn’t refused to ply. The constable impounded his licence, gave him a receipt and asked him to appear before the court.
‘He lied about his meter not working’
Taxi driver Mohammed Aasif (MH 02 R 7569) was booked for fare refusal by the Mahim traffic outpost after he refused to ply me to Carter Road.
As soon as the driver was about to leave, I signaled to the traffic constables waiting about 20m away from me. Aasif, who till now was talking in a brusque manner, toned down when he saw the constables. He started pleading and claiming that he never refused the fare. Then he said he had no option as his meter was not functioning. When the constable pointed out that it seemed to be working fine, he handed over his licence and peacefully followed the police’s instructions.
‘He asked me to get out of the rickshaw’
I tried to hail several autorickshaws at Vile Parle station, but many passed me without even stopping.
Finally, one auto (MH 02 TA 4951) slowed down; I told him to drop me at Hanuman Road and tried to board the rickshaw. However, he refused, asked me to get off and was about to leave when I signaled to the traffic constable police waiting nearby. The official took the licence of the auto driver, Ramesh Kadam, 27, and handed him a receipt. Kadam, a Khar resident, said had been driving a rickshaw for eight years and didn’t refuse fares unless it was an emergency. However, the constable was persistent.
‘His licence was already impounded’
At Mahim, I was struggling to find a vacant taxi for over 20 minutes, when I finally spotted an empty one (MH 01 AT 402). I asked the driver, Rafiquddin Shaikh, 25, to take me to Hinduja hospital, but he refused saying that he was coming from Borivli and was headed towards town.
When the traffic police official reached the spot and questioned him, Shaikh said he had to go for fuelling. When asked for his licence, Shaikh gave him a receipt stating that his licence was impounded for meter tampering. The traffic constable issued him a receipt and said that he would inform the RTO concerned about the matter.