Although the number of complaints registered against errant auto-taxi drivers on the regional transport office’s (RTO) helpline number has reduced to nearly half across the city, it has fallen even further in the western suburbs.
The Andheri RTO recorded only 971 complaints from April to December last year, compared to 2,014 in the corresponding period in 2011.
The officials from Andheri RTO link the reduction to installation of e-meters and over 3,000 stringent checks on auto drivers.
“The installation of e-meters has played a crucial role in bringing down passenger grievances. Half of the excess fare and faulty meter complaints reduced because of them.
"Besides, in 2012, we conducted over 3,200 checks on autos, which worked as a deterrent,” said Bharat Kalaskar, deputy regional transport officer, Andheri RTO.
However, commuters say the RTO helpline is not popularised enough to invoke response from irked passengers.
“A majority of commuters are not even aware of the helpline number as it has not been publicised the way it should have been. The drivers should be forced to display the helpline number in their vehicles, the way they do for the tariff card,” said Pravin Raut, 22, an engineer student who resides in Malad.
The commuters also complain that they feel discouraged about complaining since there is no way to find out if action has been taken against the driver.
“I have complained several times, but have not received any response. I have now stopped complaining,” said Bharati Desai, 37, a Chembur resident who works in a bank.
Though transport activists agree that e-meters have brought transparency in the trade, they complain of fleecing in share autos on illegal routes.
Illegal share auto routes allegedly operate from Andheri (W) station to Laxmi industrial estate, Veera Desai Road, Versova; Bandra (E) to Bandra Kurla Complex, and Bandra Terminus and Kurla station (East) to Bandra Kurla Complex.