Even as the Navi Mumbai auto drivers are fleecing commuters by refusing to ply by the meter, the city’s deputy regional transport office (RTO) is hardly taking any steps to control the nuisance.
The deputy RTO, Vashi Sanjay Raut informed Hindustan Times, that they haven’t conducted any checks on meters that have been tampered with, because of a lack of manpower. “Nonetheless, the RTO toll-free help line number is displayed on all autos and commuters can make complaints on these numbers,” said Raut.
Residents from Navi Mumbai complained that ever since the minimum rickshaw fare was reduced to Rs. 12 in April 2012, rickshaw drivers either bluntly refuse to ply, or insist they won’t use the meter in Nerul, Belapur and Sanpada. “Their auto meters never work, they cut the wire connection between the battery and engine to show commuters that the meter is not working. Most of them usually overcharge commuters. Those plying according to the meter still charge the old minimum Rs. 15 fare,” said Rohit Sen, Nerul resident and IT professional.
Another commuter complained that even police are unhelpful as they refuse to take up complaints. “I approached the constable in Sarsole depot, Nerul when the auto driver from a nearby rickshaw stand refused to ply by meter. The constable simply ordered him to drop me at my destination but refused to note my complaint,” said Neha Sharma (name changed on request), Sanpada resident and media professional.