Auto drivers should improve their service and embrace technology instead of going on recurring strikes says commuters.
Mumbaikars are likely to face severe hardships due to the auto strike called by Bhagavan Mahasangh and Swabhiman Taxi and Rickshaw Sanghatana’s on Monday for protesting against the state government’s failure to regulate the functioning of cab operators like Ola and Tab cab. They already are fed up with the recurring strikes called by auto driver unions and said that kaali peeli’s should first change their mindset instead of pointing fingers at cab operators. Often auto drivers refuse fares and don’t ply on short distances. They overcharge customers and behave rudely with them. Sometimes they don’t return the change and argue with customers for shortfall of change. Some of them rig meters and hence customers are forced to pay exorbitant fares. Many drivers misbehave with women passengers hence they are worried to board autos during night.
On the other hand, cab operators like Ola and Uber are known for providing better services to commuters. Instead of waiting for boarding an auto or taxi today a customer can simply book a cab through app and also pay the tariff online which has made travel hassle free. The drivers of these cabs are known for behaving politely with customers. Some of them are well educated and have intelligent conversation with passengers. Many of them have installed GPS which has made it easier for traffic authorities to track the vehicle. There is also a proposal to install panic button inside the vehicles for enhancing safety of women passengers travelling alone at night. There has been a good response to cab services which are slowly becoming a threat for kaali peeli and auto drivers.
Yogesh Pawar, a sales executive working with a MNC said, “Yesterday morning, I requested an auto rickshaw driver to take me to Seven Bungalows. As usual, he refused, and just stood there. Then I asked another auto driver who too denied and vanished away. I approached a third auto driver who didn’t even bother to stop his vehicle. Still, clinging on to dear hope, I requested one more empty auto…he just went off even without bothering to say “No”.”
“Then I turned towards the first auto guy, who was standing there watching my futile efforts nonchalantly. I showed him my Uber app, and booked a cab within 30 seconds, though with a nominal surge. Then I spoke to him that he should remember the past 10 minutes that he saw, when the auto unions go on strike this Monday. I tried to board four autos and then booked an Uber at surge tariffs,” he added.
Ritu Singh, a customer services executive employed with a BPO firm at Andheri said, “The business that the autos lose is not due to Uber/Ola. Cab operators are earning quick bucks due to the indifferent attitude of auto drivers towards passengers.”
Sumesh Seth, a business man from Malad said, “Auto drivers must remember – A Mumbaikar has enough money, but no time. So he will board an Uber immediately if you idiots waste his time.”
Ajay Khandewal, an accountant working with a private firm said, “Begging every morning for auto drivers to perform their duties is not a Mumbaikar’s idea of starting his day. Union’s won’t get you your passengers back. Commitment will. And yes….strikes will just drive the customers further away from you.”
Supreet Shah a TY B Com student from Kandivali said, “Auto strike is awesome. It makes my Mumbai beautiful.”
The state government has prepared the City Taxi Scheme 2015 for regulating app-based taxis, but is yet to bring it into effect. If passed, the scheme will limit their numbers and put an end to their lucrative ‘surge pricing’ policy.