The crackdown on errant auto-rickshaw drivers continued on Wednesday with transport authorities penalising over 25 drivers during inspection.
The Wadala Regional Traffic Office conducted inspection in several areas, including Ghatkopar and Mulund, while the Andheri RTO expanded the scope of its drive to include taxi drivers. "In the period from April to August, we have caught over 500 errant drivers, of which eight are taxi drivers," said Bharat Kalaskar, deputy regional transport officer. The Andheri RTO has collected Rs8.5 lakh towards penalty in these months.
The Andheri RTO seized three tampered taxi meters on Wednesday and five on Tuesday. Over 5,000 taxis are registered with this RTO. The seized meters are yet to be tested at the authorised institute. "The meters were found to be fast and will be sent to a meter testing institute," added Kalaskar.
Taxi union leader AL Quadros, however, claimed that taxi drivers were honest. "The seals of the seized meters were merely broken, not tampered. The quality of the seal wires is poor; they tend to rust and snap due to the saline air," he said.
Meanwhile, the Andheri RTO has been receiving accolades from citizens. "People have been thanking us for the drive. We want to assure them that this is not just a drive, but a mission that we will continue till the malpractices cease," Kalaskar said.
He added that complaints over refusal of fares have dipped after the crackdown. "In the past 10 days, we haven't received a single call complaining about the refusal."
Interestingly, the Tardeo RTO, which looks after 27,000 taxi permits within city limits, doesn't plan on launching a similar drive in the near future.
"We have been carrying out inspections on a daily basis; these are not in the form of any drive. The situation with the taxis is different as 60% of them have electronic meters installed," said Madhukar Jadhav, regional transport officer, Tardeo.