Mangalore: Auto Rickshaw Drivers Taking Advantage of Petrol Price Hike?
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore
Mangalore, Jun 7: We have come across cases where honest auto drivers make us proud by handing over missing bags of passengers, or take the correct chargeeven when their meters are not working. But then there are those, many in number, who take undue advantage of any situation to make some extra bucks.
The petrol price hike is one such thing that has given auto drivers a good excuse to charge more from gullible passengers. It is ironical that when most autos use CNG or diesel, they still charge for petrol!
Narrating his personal experience to Daijiworld, Prasheesh Kumar Shetty*, a resident of Mannagudda said he had to travel from his home in Mannagudda to Lady Hill bus stop, for which the fare is Rs 17. On June 4, when he started from home the meter showed Rs 17, but on reaching the destination the meter had jumped to Rs 30. He was told by the auto driver that the fare was hiked by 30 by the auto drivers’ union, which was a blatant lie. However, being an informed citizen, when Shetty threatened the auto driver that he would report him to the police, he accepted Rs 17 and left hurriedly. Shetty opines that RTO should immediately arrange for surprise checking of electronic meters in the city to curb the menace.
This is mere one of the many instances of exploitation of the passengers by the auto drivers. Apart from meters being tampered with, there are many other ways in which some auto drivers fleece their passengers, especially when ferrying them to far-flung places.
Another woman told Daijiworld that she hired an auto rickshaw to go to Lighthouse hill, and stopped at a shop just before where the uphill road begins. Despite paying the charge on the meter, the driver demanded extra as he had to drive up the hill, even though she would not be in the auto then!
In another instance, two lady passengers who asked the auto driver to ferry them to their apartments were stopped a little distance from their place of residence and told to get down, for no apparent reason, and he even demanded full charge despite not taking them to their destination. When the ladies started to argue and threatened to complain, he made a scene and people gathered. Being respectable people, they had no choice but to give up and walk the rest of the way. It was pure harassment, and that too of ladies.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Ivan D’Souza, president of Mangalore City Autorickshaw Drivers' Association clarified that the auto drivers' union had only submitted the appeal to hike the minimum fare to Rs 24 from the present rate of Rs 17, to the DC and the RTO. However, the decision on the revision of fares will be taken only after a meeting is conducted by the RTO. He appealed to the public to directly complain such matters with the RTO or the police.
RTO C Mallikarjuna said that in case of passengers facing such situations, they should take down the registration number of the auto and lodge a complaint with him without delay. "I will make the auto driver to come to my office and take necessary action," he said.
*Editor's Note: This story was pursued by Daijiworld on the request of Prasheesh Kumar Shetty, a reader. Daijiworld readers are welcome to share their experiences on any issue with a detailed report to firstname.lastname@example.org.