Traffic cops clamp down on share autos, recover ₹56L penalties
The Mumbai traffic police have received several complaints from commuters regarding the menace, resulting in a city-wide crackdown on autorickshaw drivers, especially near railway stations
Mumbai: For many commuters in the city, share auto-rickshaws are an affordable way to get around. With less fares, they help people travel with minimum fuss. However, to make more money, rickshaw drivers are packing in extra passengers, beyond the capacity of three, putting everyone’s life at risk.
The Mumbai traffic police have received several complaints from commuters regarding the menace, resulting in a city-wide crackdown on autorickshaw drivers, especially near railway stations.
Since January 1, 2022, when the drive began, as many as 25,181 auto drivers were penalised. The traffic police collected a fine of ₹56 lakh till August 15, 2022.
According to traffic police officers, they had been receiving several complaints on social media about the menace which could prove harmful. Raj Tilak Roushan, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic HQ), the drive was initiated as part of the drive after commuters began to complain against rash driving and refusal to ply by share auto drivers.
The maximum number of drivers fined for carrying excess passengers were from Samta Nagar in Kandivali east where 6,305 drivers were penalised and a fine of ₹13,23,400 was collected. Around 4,490 drivers were caught in Mankhurd where ₹9,71,800 was collected. These spots are followed by Dindoshi in Goregaon east where 3350 drivers were caught and a fine of ₹6,85,800 was recovered.
“Ferrying a fourth passenger in an auto can be dangerous. These auto drivers are putting the lives of commuters at risk driving with four passengers on roads which are filled with potholes,” said Roushan.
Apart from the special drive, the Mumbai traffic police have issued e-challans to 45,000 auto and taxi drivers for carrying excess passengers in 2022.
Traffic police officials said that not only were offenders being fined amounts ranging from ₹500 to ₹2,200, depending on the nature of the violation but in the case of repeat offenders, their vehicles too were being confiscated. The violators are being booked under section 179 of the Motor Vehicles Act if found ferrying more than the permitted number of passengers.
In March, the auto and taxi unions had asked the Traffic Police to inspect the situation outside all railway stations to see whether norms were being violated. The auto unions told the police that there should be demarcations made for share-auto stands which are segregated according to the locality they ply from the railway stations and the number of passengers should be checked by authorities.
According to a 82-year-old commuter from Bandra West, the harassment and violations by share auto-rickshaws needed to be stopped. “These share auto drivers not only gather at the exit from the railway station but also block people from going towards the bus stand and the official rickshaw stand. They force people to opt for sharing, especially visitors from outside Bandra, who want to visit Bandstand to catch a sight of Bollywood stars.”