The city’s autorickshaw drivers have decided to meet transport department officials and appeal to them to organise awareness camps on the availability of pink autos for women.
The pink autos have iron mesh doors installed on them. Although these were meant for security, women commuters report feeling caged in with such doors, leaving auto drivers facing difficulties in getting passengers.
The city transport department had launched 26 pink autos over a month ago to provide a safe mode of transport for women. These autos can ferry only women passengers or men accompanied by them. On September 5, the transport department gave permit to pink autos after a year of delay.
However, now pink auto drivers are reporting a loss in revenue.
“Women feel uncomfortable with fenced autos that give a feeling of being caged. I prefer to use regular autos,” said Sumitra Jain of Sector 92.
“The body fencing is undoubtedly good for women’s safety, but women hesitate to take pink autos as they probably do not feel comfortable. We feel an awareness camp would help in explaining to women the importance of the wire mesh,” said Om Prakash Gurjar, president, CNG Autorickshaw Union, Noida.
The union said drivers are worried as they had taken loans for pink autos and are now unable to earn enough.
“We appreciate the pink auto plan. It was launched after a year as we were hesitant to accept it for various reasons. Now, we need the help of the union and transport officials to encourage us by arranging awareness drives,” said Rajiv Saini, a pink auto driver who said had not earned anything on Thursday.
Many pink auto drivers have resorted to ferrying male passengers to earn their livelihood.
“The auto drivers can ferry male passengers if the woman passenger agrees. We have received feedback that pink auto drivers are feeling depressed as they do not get women passengers and men who are aware of the rules also avoid them. We will definitely arrange an awareness camp in Noida,” said Rachna Yaduvanshi, assistant regional transport officer (ARTO), Gautam Budh Nagar.