After Hindustan Times revived its Meter Down campaign against errant auto drivers two weeks ago, the city's biggest auto union has decided to make some effort to make life easier for commuters – it has decided to organise a training camp for its 25,000 member auto drivers and teach them to be polite and behave better.
“We plan to focus on three things: we will appeal to auto drivers not to refuse fares in the wake of rising complaints, we will ask them to behave in a cordial manner, especially with the elderly, and we will guide them on their health issues,” Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of Mumbai Autorickshawmen's Union, told HT on Sunday.
The camp will be organised for August-end or September as it is difficult to organise such events during the monsoon, Rao said. “If we hold it in the city, it will be a day-long seminar and if we do it outside the city, it will stretch to two days,” he said, adding that the union would rope in traffic police and Regional Transport Office (RTO) officers for lectures during the seminar.
The union is also planning to revive a campaign on discouraging fare refusals, which includes sessions and the distribution of pamphlets advising drivers not to decline fares. “The aim of these camps is basically to inform the drivers about what is in the best interests of their passengers and themselves,” Rao said.
Commenting on the recurrent complaints of auto drivers using tampered meters to fleece commuters, Rao said that the union is against such practice. “We have appealed to union members to inform us of any garage owner or dealer who tampers with meters. We will tie up with the authorities and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.