Share auto drivers putting passengers’ lives at risk by carrying more than three commuters.
Auto drivers have been violating traffic rules by carrying four to five passengers which also poses a huge risk to the passengers’ lives as there is a possibility of autos overturning. On Saturday, 10 January, the Kandivali RTO had laid a naka bandi and had caught minor auto drivers’ aged 15 to 16 carrying four passengers sans license. Many of them were not wearing uniform and badge which is mandatory.
The Mumbai Traffic Police had ordered all Rickshaw Unions and Auto Drivers to display a photo-copy of their vehicles registration papers for the commuters’ safety but share-auto drivers are seen ignoring and violating the traffic regulations.
Most of the auto drivers operating outside all major stations like Bandra, Kurla, Jogeshwari, Malad and Kandivali carry five passengers. The sharing auto stands are backed by political parties and auto rickshaw unions, who mostly are seen talking about hiking auto fares for a better commuting. However, they are turning a blind eye towards passengers’ safety. They also charge exorbitant fares and refuse to ply short distances.
Amit Tolani a Dahisar resident said, “Many times passengers have to wait for more than 30 minutes for hiring an auto due to frequent fare refusals by auto drivers. They behave rudely with the passengers if they question them about fare refusals. Auto drivers also argue with commuters over fares.”
No politician or auto union has taken action against the erring auto drivers. Traffic Police are busy filling their pockets as they fail to resolve the grievances of passengers.
Pratap Sule a Kandivali resident said, “Most of the meters are tampered with and hence passengers are taken for a ride, both ways. Concerned officials should look into the matter and make autos passenger-friendly. Auto drivers should be trained to behave politely with commuters. The government should also take various steps to enhance women’s safety while using public transport.”
Dina Patel a housewife from Dahisar said, “No legal action is being taken against errant auto drivers as they continue to fleece the passengers. Refusals peak during certain times of the day and at certain places; cops should identify these with commuters’ and activists’ help and involve them to get honest feedback.”
Commuters have been lodging several complaints on the RTO tollfree helpline (1800-22-0110), but the situation does not seem to improve. The government should upgrade the public transportation services so that it will decongest the city roads.