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Mangalore: When Auto Drivers Take Public for a Royal Ride...


Mangalore: When Auto Drivers  Take Public for a Royal Ride...

by Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore

Mangalore, Aug 17: Many e- mail users must have got this mail recently asking people to say “no” to autos and taxis on 12th August, 2010 because they say no to you whenever you want.  So are you ready to skip the ride? It asked.  In continuation it said “because strike needs a strike back.  We are tired of meters that always read more than it should, drivers who refuse to ply and demand return fare….and there are strikes.  Everyone is holding the janta to ransom.  Now it is time to turn the table”. 

Well, I remembered reading this mail when I witnessed this scene in the Mangalore Railway Station on 14th August, 2010.  One woman traveler asked the auto driver waiting at the railway station to go to some destination and he refused point blank.  The woman requested the driver a few times and a Police Inspector who was a witness to this whole saga also appealed to the driver to take her to the destination.  The driver did not budge and started giving excuses. 

The inspector thought enough was enough and caught hold of him and took him to the police station despite his protests. 



There have been numerous instances about the unethical practices and rude behavior of auto drivers as they resort to all sorts of tactics to swindle unsuspecting and helpless customers who depend on autos at odd hours such as early morning or late nights when bus transport facility is not available. This happens mainly in railway or bus stops where helpless customers have no other choice but to surrender to the whims of the auto drivers.  Some passengers end up paying more to the autos than what they paid for their entire train journey.     A colleague of my friend was explaining to me on how he was charged Rs. 150/- from Mangalore Central Railway Station to Bejai recently, which is nothing but cheating customers.  “I was helpless and I knew he charged me more than it costs even if it is charged at 1 ½ .  But there was no other means of transport from the railway station and I had shell out whatever he demanded.  I don’t mind paying a few extra bucks but not this kind of robbery”, he explained. 

It is not just in terms of auto fares that auto drivers cheat the gullible public.  What is even more galling is that all auto drivers gang up in lending support to their fellow drivers in the event of any public altercations.  They blindly support the auto drivers as an act of solidarity with their fellow man. 

A photo-journalist recently had a bad experience   when an auto driver slammed to his brother’s jeep that had Kerala State registration.  The auto driver had driven recklessly and had hit the rear side of the jeep.  There was not much  damage to the auto except its front light which got cracked.  The auto driver with the support of other drivers demanded Rs. 1000/- as damages and he thought he  could get away because the jeep was bearing Kerala registration and the auto driver thought the driver would shell out that much amount rather than take the trouble of coming to Mangalore in the event of a case.  But the driver got a surprise of his life when the matter was taken to the police station and resulting in the police seizing his auto after it was found that he was drunk. 


It is true some auto drivers put in  extra efforts to be in bus stands  and railway  stations during odd hours and as a reward for the extra effort  they are entitled to charge the customer 1 ½ of the cost of the meter if it is before 6 am  and after 8 pm.  Customers willingly pay this amount and some customers even may give some extra tips over and above that cost.  What is noisome is the way the drivers cheat taking customers for a royal ride purposely in order to swindle more money.  Some auto drivers refuse to ply short distance, which is again irritable, because they are unable to cheat due to the low and minimum cost of auto fare.

Ivan D Souza, who is the President of Auto Rickshaw Owners and Drivers Association, Mangalore, agrees that such complaints are common against auto drivers in the city.  “In every meeting of the union the drivers are told not to resort to cheating the customers and win over the confidence of the customers by being just.  If the customers complain to the RTO in writing or orally giving the registration number of the auto and the place from which the driver refused to ply, the RTO will take action. Such autos will be seized for 2 to 3 days or his license will be suspended along with fine so that they desist from such activities. The union will in no way come to the rescue of such drivers or support their cause”, Ivan stated. 

Ivan also pointed out that an auto which is in the bus or railway station cannot refuse customers to go to any destination and the public is free to complain to the RTO about such autos.  Ivan also stated that to avoid this kind of cheating by the auto drivers,  pre-paid  auto service has been put up at KSRTC and railways stations both at Mangalore Central and Kankanady.  However,  on inquiry it is learnt that no such service is available either in railway or bus stations.  One of the railway officials confirmed that pre-paid auto functioned only about a month or so and now only the booth is there and  no service, thus leaving the passengers totally under the mercy of unscrupulous auto drivers.  

Pre-paid  auto service is a good remedy to get rid of dishonest  auto drivers.  But that does not solve the root cause  of the problem.  There are so many ways they try to cheat credulous customers.  The change of attitude has to come from the auto drivers rather than imposing it on them.  Many of them refuse to charge the meter and  fix or demand a certain amount of money to go to a particular destination.  The best way to get rid of this kind of annoyance is to complain to the RTO by customers  against drivers who cheat or refuse to go to any particular destination. 

Regional Transport Officer  Seva Naik, who recently took charge as Mangalore RTO, agrees there are complaints about the rude behavior and cheating by auto drivers.  Customers can complain to the RTO in writing giving details of the auto number,  which is very important and if possible give details of the place from where the auto operated.  “Once we receive a complaint we call both the parties and try to assess the situation.  The guilty driver will be punished by suspending his license for one or two weeks.  This will act as a deterrent and repeated such complaints would lead to the cancellation of license.  If the license is suspended it will be listed in his license history as black mark which will serve as a deterrent”, said Seva Naik when asked what action RTO takes on erring auto drivers. 

Customers also can call 100 and complain and traffic police would respond immediately.  But a complaint to the RTO is the best way to deal with the problem. 

One Avinash from Vamanjoor had recently complained to the RTO about the misbehavior of an auto driver giving his vehicle number and other details.  The department called the driver to the office and initiated proper action based on the complaint.    However, the RTO did not rule out the possibility of such  drivers running the auto even when the license is suspended.  “Auto drivers will commit such blunders   at their own peril. They  will face real problem if at all something goes wrong during that period”, says the RTO.  

So the next time you feel an auto driver is refusing to ply you or is demanding more money without using the meter,  the best way out of the impasse is to telephone 100 and follow it up  by a complain to the RTO against such erring  auto drivers.  It is better to act rather than merely talk bout harassment by auto drivers. 

In the meantime, the RTO has called a meeting of Atuo Owners and Drivers on 23rd August  at the D C’s office to discuss fare fixation, at 3.30 pm, in which auto owners and drivers, traffic police and other concerned departments will take part.   RTO has said the public can participate in this meeting and express their grievances or the problems they face from auto drivers.   

The need of the hour is to set up pre-paid auto services at both the railway stations and at KSRTC bus stop which will be helpful for travelers especially outsiders whom the auto drivers find it easy to cheat.  

Comment on this article

  • morrisdgr8, M'lore

    Sun, Nov 7 2010

    What a nonsense of correcting Auto Drivers or educating them!Pre-paid or post paid? Nothing will change.Send all the Auto Drivers to China as Mr.Yaddi took farmers.In China there aren't Auto's but Taxi Drivers issue tickts like City Bus's use in M'lore when you travel in Taxi. If you pay 100 rupees the driver will tear 10pcs of 10 rupee tickets in China.If min fare 15 rupees in India they need to keep 10 N 5 ruppee 2 bundles of ticketing pads with them.They can do this easily instead pre-paid.Prepaid will encourage more corruption or 'Tips'(chaya-paani) when U alite the Auto(what currently happens with the prepaid Taxi Drivers from the Air-port to Home in India) or commission to the authority at the pre-paid counter.
    Try to beleive me..Ticketing system may work.For complaints the ticket can be provided to proove the Auto number and..It won't be like Bus Conductors Job in the Rush hours.Auto Drivers have planty of time to issure/tear the reasonable ticket.
    What U guy's say?.

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  • Gowri Shankar Rao, Singapore

    Sun, Aug 29 2010

    It's time to Educate the Auto Drivers & the Traffic Police in Mangalore that we are not anymore living in 14-15th century and world has changed a lot. So stop all your cheap stunts with the passengers and treat them diwth dignity. Ofcourse in Mangalore the traffic police or law enforcement cops also give support to Auto Drivers to break the law and fill their own pockets, hence Auto Drivers are always winners. People and Passengers in Mangalore faced the Brunt of Auto Drivers which time again has brought to the attention of the Police wihout any Changes to the rude behavious of the Auto Drivers. Local Administration please intervene and make the life of the people more enjoyable. Thanks,

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  • Nelson, UAE,

    Sun, Aug 22 2010

    There are few passengers who encourage our Auto drivers by not demanding the change, if they tender big currency note. It happened one day as I was coming back from Kerala to Mangalore by train, exited from the opposite side of the Mangalore Central Station, there were quite of Auto Drivers forcing you to hire. Though I did not intend to take one, one of the Auto driver took me little distant where his Auto was parked, as he asked where he wanted me to be ped, it was Kankanady STRAIGHT AWAY HE SAID THE HIRE WOULD BE RS.40/-, I was shocked to hear the fare.I Got down and walked towards the railway station behind road, (Meanwhile there were other auto drivers forcing me to hire one, to my inquisitiveness i just asked him the fare till Kankanady, for this the earlier Auto Driver came running and mockingly said that this person just wants to go to Kankanady, inorder to avoid getting the reduced fare from the second auto driver.

    I had to walk a bit a hire another Auto which ply on the main road. I wondered, as there were many passengers 60% of them from Kerala side, these Auto drivers rushing towards them for hire & cheating them for fare inorder to squeeze them. I know most of passengers who come are patients. But our Auto Drivers don't care, they loot you right during day. When I got down from the Auto the metre showed Rs.15/-. So this is my experience, how our MANGALOREAN Auto drivers cheat you, specially when you are near any Railway Station or may be Airport. So I just want to Caution all the passengers, especially people who go down from middle east don't ever pay more than what is there in the metre otherwise because of your so called generousness poor people would suffer.

    I even want to mention that there are few comments made by readers diverting the subject and bringing politics here, please don't divert the subject and read & understand the article before you type any comments. You can easily make out reading some comments that there is only so much of hatred and anger shown towards political parties with the comments made. I wish Daijiworld would check definately check all the comments before they are posted.....

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  • Sudhir, Mangaluru

    Sun, Aug 22 2010

    I is true that 99% auto drivers are very rude. Can the police take action against such drivers who always refuse to come eventhough they are waiting in auto stand. The rule is whoever is at frontline has to come wherever passenger ask to go. Daiji also can publish some compiant number of police whenever we face such incident.

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  • silvia aranha, manglore

    Sat, Aug 21 2010

    NOW a dayes we are faceing lot of problem.due to this auto driver.they are cheating us.meter reading also nt proper.they abuse us.we have to take action aganist them what is the way.please show us.

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  • eliza, bejai

    Sat, Aug 21 2010

    whom do we complain when the auto drivers cheat us? I had a bad experience with an auto driver from kankandy railway station who charged me 120/- to take to jyothi circle but his meter reading was only Rs.46. please help... this is cheating and he was so rude, howling all the time

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  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore - U.S.A.

    Fri, Aug 20 2010

    Florine of daijiworld has very rightly highlighted the menace from the auto-richshaw drivers. It is sad and unfortunate to see commuters being cheated and haressed. They get away with the crime because they all believe in the concept "strength in numbers". If there is any argument between a commuter and a rickshaw driver you can be sure that RIGHT OR WRONG any number of other rickshaw drivers will gang up to support their colleague. The lonely commuter does not stand a chance before these men who would not hesitate to resort man handling.

    The problem is now coming under the regine of the present Commissioner of Police who I am sure has already made a careful note of the situation. He has already decided to reinforce the police force by increasing the number of constables. He will decide on the next step by seeking the cooperation of the civilians.

    Joe Gonsalves

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  • Sudhakar, Mangalore/Ratnagiri

    Thu, Aug 19 2010

    we also had the same bad experience at Mangalore. we proudly tell that we are from mangalore to others, but such incidents make us feel very bad. However, what the so popular and so dynamic DC is doing? only improving the auesthetic look of mangalore? I think no knowledge of mangalore culture.

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  • Justin Tauro,

    Thu, Aug 19 2010

    The main cause of drivers taking people for a ride is, that people are too dependent on the rikshaws. The solution is, carry a trolley, carry an umbrella for sun, with you where ever you travel, and walk the distance, even if it is 30 minutes, so what. Walking is good for health, and in this case it will be good for your mind and pocket too. You will have so much satisfaction of having used some energy, and not letting take some body undue advantage of you. Be strong mentally, your physic will follow you. Only when the rikshaws realise that people have a wonderful alternative, they will behave humanely.Why are taxis not so rude?

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  • Mrs. Zita , Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    This is a very good example when auto drivers are rude to senior citizens and ladies who arrive at railway stations and major bus stops. When a passenger arrives at the railway station at Hampankatta the Auto drivers do not agree to go to the neighbouring areas and they also demand higher fares, they deny the use of meter. There are times when I have come to Milagres Church with my luggage to get an Auto. But when anyone agrees to oblige, the other auto drivers object and there is a rift among them. To conclude I request the authorities to introduce a pre paid counter at railway stations and major bus stops.

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  • srikanth, Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    @ Russell dsouza, bejai,Muscat

    U not only did a good thing by demanding but also u've exercised which is good for your health !!

    But not many ppl do this and succumb to the demands of the autowalas ..

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  • vineeth fernandes, mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    this article was help ful.. at last cheating passenger's from auto drivers will come to an end soon..

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  • russell dsouza, bejai,Muscat

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Auto cheating is very common everywhere during odd times. Once I got down at jyothi circle from Bangalore bus morning and asked to drive me to bejai. The driver demanded 75/-. I told him I will pay him that but he has to take me in the roads which i tell him. He knew he was in shit when I told him I will take him through roads so that i get my worth for the money I pay till I reach home.Finally I went walking as it was just a 10 minute walk which i did for 8 years while studying in S.A.C

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  • Kevin Mascarenhas, Mangalore/Sydney

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    A simple solution is to have Pvt Auto companies run like a company which should have telephone service for calling an auto. RTO&traffic personnel manning these auto stands at KSRTC/Railway and have a hotline for other areas to complaint.

    Do away with processes like go to RTO and complaint the wait for a date where both parties are called.
    These are basic transport needs and all have the right to it so it has to be treated as essential service. If any service provider is found misbehaving he should be severely punished by a prison term and cancellation of license.
    People only behave when there is a deterrent.

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  • Avaneesh, Mangalore/UAE

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Auto drivers know passengers' urgency to reach home after a long journey by train/Bus. That is why they charges lumpsum like Rs. 100/150 to city from stations. After a long journey we cant keep fighting/complaining with luggage, childern with us. What I want to know is can we compalin after the auto ride after paying him what he asks?
    The best solution I feel the prepaid autos that too 24 hrs working. Also, not only the complains I think RTO should insist passengers to report about the gentleman drivers who charge as per the tarriff set at all times so that RTo can accumulate points against such drivers and award them from time to time. This may work as a boost.

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  • florine, managalore/mumbai

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    It would be better that we have a shared Rickshaw service stand too provided to the railway passengers at Surathkal, Kankanady,Mangalore rly stations as there are passengers who go to the same direction sometime and the rickshaw drivers charge return fare always and the passengers who are already tired of travelling long way would not like to waste their time on bargaining with the auto/taxi drivers who would take the advantage of the situation.

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  • Ruchir Agarwal, mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Usually auto drivers refuse to ply for 2 reasons
    1]if its past 7pm they await a passenger going thier way home.
    2] The destination should be a traffic blackade free and with lessor potholes.Also they dont want to enter lanes/bylanes

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  • JAGADEESH, BANTWAL

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    It is a real truth about Auto drivers. Normally I face this problem when I get down at pumpwell to come to kaknanady, no body is ready to come to kankanady, everytime if will have to fight with them. I hope our mangalore RTO will open their eyes.

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  • vaneesha, Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    yes auto drivers take high charge but not all. last week i had been to city it was late (8.00 pm )i could not take my mom and baby in my 2 wheeler because my baby was sleepy. then i hire a auto usually none of the auto driver come to k.p. t after 7. pm and if they come they take us only till the college not to the cross road and even they charge us more than the meter charge.but that day driver took only the meeter charge though i paid him more he didn't take it. and near bus stand and railway station this is the common problem so i think it is better to have prepaid autos.

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  • geoffrey, hathill

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    A 100% down to earth article. But why single out autowalhas alone? What about the doctors, lawyers and builders who charge exorbitantly and even evade income tax? It's vicious circle we are caught in. When u are forced to pay through your nose for your survival/basic needs, you resort to actions akin to those of autowalhas.

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  • S Dsouza, Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    I live in Bikernakatte and the reflex action of any auto driver is to say NO. And what I hate the most is when the auto driver thinks it is his birth right to receive two rupees on top of the meter charge.

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  • Kateel Ramesh Prabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    I have noticed two types of behavior by auto drivers in Mangalore.1)In Mangalore central railway station and Kankanaday railway station drivers charges exorbitantly higher do not put the meter.2) In other parts of the city it is OK ,they are co-ordial and charging reasoably with good behavior. Compared to Bangalore auto drivers I have found Mangalore auto drivers are far better.
    I have good experience with Kerala state auto drivers especially from Kanhangad to southern parts of the state, where drivers are very reasonable and co-ordial.Charging reasoanl meter rate and behavior is good.Autos are kept very clean and neat and well maintained.They look very happy by facial look.If you are from outside state or do not know Malayalam ,they give good service and seldom cheat unlike other places/states.In Bangalore though they earn reasonably well but their look appears arrogent and unhappy.This is with majority of auto drivers in Bangalore.I request sri Ivan D'souza to kindly prevail on the auto drivers/owners to be fair and just and preserve the good values of Tulunadu.

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  • Roland,

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    TomCat, let Ivan support them. He will atleast get the auto drivers votes in the next election.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • S.Kumar, Bangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Travelling by auto from Kankanady Railway Station is a nightmare. In fact, I ply by auto almost every fortnight from Kankanady (Mangalore Junction) to Kottarachowki and everytime I am forced to pay anywhere between Rs.140 to Rs.180. If one hires a taxi through Cellcabs, it costs Rs.205. I think, it is time that the government should force the autodrivers to issue fare-receipt bill to every customer so that such instances can be checked. The details of the vehicle and driver should be properly displayed in the auto and the passengers should be prompted by the authorities to complain such instances via SMS, etc., and such habitual erring drivers should be booked.

    It is really heartening to note that the Police at Mangalore Railway Station has taken action against the driver who refused to accommodate the passenger. Such instances still leave hope for the passengers that some day the government will come out with some novel idea to check these kind of looting by the drivers.

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  • Tom Cat, Mangalore/ Saudi Arabia

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Auto auto"s what about taxi fares ? are they reasonable? Every person returning from airport taxi to KanKanady or Hampanakata has to pay Rupees 450.00 to 500.00 is this fair? Airport vehicle parking fees Rupees 25.00 is this fair? Dear Ivan don't close your eyes and support the auto union in their wrong doing, as it self congress has a bad name for double game, hence the BJP here to rule.

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  • Santhosh, Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 17 2010

    Thanks to Daiji for this beautiful article. Last two months I too had an experience. I was back from Bangalore in Train, got down in Kankanady railway station at 7.30 -8.00am. I asked auto driver to me to Mahaveer circle (Pumpwel circle). Before sitting in the auto he was demanding Rs.100. Its just 2-2.5 kms. Then I came by walk till the main road caught a auto paid just Rs. 18. Now a days they charge as they want, they are not ready to put meter. Its a very good idea to setup pre-paid service to auto.

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  • nagesh nayak, bangalore

    Mon, Aug 16 2010

    CORRUPTION, CHEATING ETC.. ARE AT HIGHER LEVEL IN CRORES i.e. IN CORUUPTION WEALTH GAMES & WE ARE BLAMING POOR AUTO DRIVERS .

    SPECTRUM SCANDALS( RAJA) & CWG SCAM (KALMADI)NO ACTION BY CONGRESS . AUTO DRIVERS ALSO WATCHING THIS & THEY DO WITH CONFIDENECE.

    DO NOT BLAME AUTO DRIVERS BUT BLAME CONGRESS WHO TAUGHT CORRUPTION & CHEATING LESSON TO OUR NATION.

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  • R Mallar, Kasaragod/ Dubai

    Mon, Aug 16 2010

    Yes we all hate the autorikshaw drivers. But let us think, are they earning at par with say other skilled labour category? A mason or carpenter or mechanic may earn up to Rs 10,000/- a month. RTA must conduct a survey and find out how much rickshaw drivers earn after petrol and maintenance costs in say 8 hours work every day and if they earn less than Rs 10k, the meter charge must be raised to match. Thereafter crack a whip for refusing a trip or over charging. However raising meter charges has political consequences - is it not?

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  • vasudha pai, mangalore

    Mon, Aug 16 2010

    There is no use of complaining to RTO as per my several bad experience aginst these auto drivers. They are rash & rude. most of 95 % of auto drivers are of the same attitude. the main thing is whereever we want to ply, the answser is 'not possible' go ahead. if it is not possible to take the passengers, why they are parking their autos in the parking area, cant they park them in their house? onece i have complained to RTO against two auto drivers from car street area as they refused to ply to LHH. but no use. a small enquiry drama was conducred at RTO office.

    The auto drivers union leader argued for the auto drivers and the case was dismissed, that is all. nothing will happen. the autos are for the public. the drivers should know it. in case of emergencies also they refuled to ply to some destination. this is highly disgusting. now also i am having the same problem. they will not improve. my request is atleast one police personnel to be deputed in the auto parking area. then we lady passengers may have some support. is it possible? i think no....because they don't care this department also. other wise they would ply while we say let us go to police station. all these are my personal experience. i am fed up for this service. still there are good auto drivers also. but they are helpless due to this horrible co-drivers. god only has to give them good attitude, mainly humanism.

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  • Madhyastha S, brahmavara

    Mon, Aug 16 2010

    Good article Thanks Daji. Even prepaid auto drivers are prepalned to cheat valid custermer. For instance we have prepaid auto system in Chennai railway station, bangalore railway station and Mysore railway station and list is endless. In all points drivers will forcefully agree to the system and refuses to reacvh destination. The reason given was auto problem, drying of petrol, road repair near the reach point, curfew in the area etc. In result auto driver will force passenger to get down and take some Rs.10 less than the orginal depicted value in the receipt. If passenger refuses he will call near by auto drivers and make and craet the scene that he is right. Then passenger has to oblige and respect the whole auto drivers gang and reach the desination by walk. Even if you complaint at start point or near by police station, there is no suitable law to curb this kind of tricky law of auto drivers.
    So, in nutshell, prepaid is very good system but those registered autos in prepaid system are good.

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  • Ronnie, Kinnigoli/Canada

    Mon, Aug 16 2010

    It is an example of quality of life in India. Something is terribly wrong. Greed supersedes everything and what is surprising is that we have a government at the centre,state, municipal and panchayat level but no governance. Should we say, our independence struggle could drive out colonial powers from our land but our own administration failed to produce quality citizens. It is so humiliating to succumb to the greedy fellow countrymen, whose numbers are growing by every hour!

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