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Do auto drivers have a case to strike?

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Public Transport

Seven major autorickshaw unions, including the Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers' Union and Karnataka Association for Autorickshaws, will not ply on both days. They are mainly protesting against the alleged harassment by police.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Auto unions may have many reasons to strike, like every other person may have. But, can police harassment be one of them?

At the Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) meet held on the 16th, the Addl Commissioner, Traffic, Dr Saleem, IPS, stated that, as a fall-out of the Nirbhaya incident (in Delhi), they had started tightening up on many of the checks on auto's and auto drivers, including the Vehicle Licence Display System (check here), which is perhaps what the unions are protesting against now. He stated that his department owed a bigger responsibility to the citizens, and as such, he will not be relenting on these drives. The TAC extended fullest support to him.

While on the subject, I would like to add a few words about my experience with auto's in Mumbai, over the four days I was there, last week. Apart from the odd times that I took the local trains (during non-peak hours), I used auto's largely, and I must have made at least some ten trips during the course of the four days, mostly in the Andheri - Versova areas. The most I must have waited to catch an auto would have been 3 minutes, and the most I had to walk for the purpose would have been say 50 M. And, of the ten times, perhaps just once did the auto I approcahed first decline my custom, but to be readily srerved by the next one in line. They were uniformly polite, charged totally by the meter, irrespective of the time of day or night. Once, when the meter read Rs 124/-, I gave Rs 125/-, and was turning to walk away, the driver pulled out a Re 1/- coin and thrust it into my hands.

My daughter who resides there currently tells me that this is quite the rule with Mumbai auto's, and she swears by them, as compared to Bengaluru auto's which she swears at, having experienced them over the six months she worked here earlier.

As such, there is a lot the Bengaluru auto unions could learn from their counterparts in Mumbai. If they do that, they would earn the respect of the citizens (as compared to their currently being the object of citizen's swears - check this), while simultaneously lightening the burden of the already over-worked traffic police.

Muralidhar Rao

PS: The minimum charge in Mumbai auto's currently is Rs 15/-, and even the 'per km' rate is lower compared to Bengaluru. This is perhaps due to the fact that they use LNG. LNG appears to reduce smoke emission too. Today's TOI carries an ad by GAIL on their 18" pipeline for supply of LNG from Dhabol reaching Bengaluru. Hopefully, Bengaluru citizens could enjoy cheaper and less polluting auto rides in the near future like their Mumbai brethren. Meanwhile, if the unions could their act together too, it could make for a lot more pleasant life besides.

Comments

Bangalore is Mine's picture

Does a metro city need autos?

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Below is my cost analysis to check if engaging rickshaw makes sense.

 

Prevailing charges for 3 type of travel services:

 

Auto Charges

   

 

Kms

Rs

   

Minimum charges

1.8

20

   

Post Minimum

1

11

   

 

 

Meru Charges

 

Kms

Rs

Minimum charges

4

80

Post Minimum

1

19.5

 

 

Tours and Travels Cab

 

Hrs/ Kms

Rs

Minimum charges

4 Hrs/ 40 kms

475

Post Minimum

1 Kms

7

 

 

Therefore theoretically speaking:

 

Auto

Meru

Travel cab

Short distance ( approx 4 Kms)

Rs 44*

Rs 80

N.A

Medium distance ( approx 10 Kms)

Rs 110

Rs 197

N.A

Long distance (approx 50 Kms)

Rs 548

Rs 897

Rs 542

*The best price for the given distance shaded in Bold

 

However in reality:

 

Auto

Meru

Travel cab

Comments

Short distance ( approx 4 Kms)

Rs 60- Rs 100

Rs 80

N.A

Most of the rickshaw drivers do not go by the rate card and negotiate rates as per whim and fancy depending on peak hours

Medium distance ( approx 10 Kms)

Rs 150- Rs 200

Rs 197

N.A

Long distance (approx 50 Kms)

Rs 548

Rs 897

Rs 542

 

 

Final comments:

In addition to the comments given above, also add:

  • Inconvenience  of waiting and negotiating with rickshaws.
  • Tolerating the attitude of some misbehaved drivers.
  • Most importantly, while we have progressed and implemented mandatory seat belt rules for cars, the rickshaws have always managed to get away with zero safety rules.

It is for now for you to decide

Regards

Vimal

P.S: Here is a blog I had written 5+ years back. Looks like things have not changed much.

Vasanth's picture

Auto is good if metre is not tampered or they do not overcharge

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Autos are good and the fare comparison holds well if they go as per rule. But it is not the case.

For instance, for travelling from Railway Station to Kattriguppe where I live, prepaid auto charge is 110 + 1 ruppee (They charge for 10 kms) whereas it is only 8 kms to the south tip of Kattriguppe. Also, after 10'o clock, it is 1 1/2 metre coming down to 165 rupees.

I recently booked a Meru cab from Railway Station to Home and it costed me only 135 rupees. Ride was comfortable with A/C. I could have had one more passenger and I could keep all my luggage in the Trunk. I reached home at 10:05. For Auto I would have paid 165.

Taxis available in Railway Station are also very expensive. They charge minimum of 200. Never use them please.

Best way is to book Meru via Cell Phone when we are nearing Bangalore by Bus / Train.

 

 

dvsquare's picture

Auto's strike not at all makes sense if against police harrasmen

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I mean, this seems to be totally auto-gunda raaj, if they are on strike because police is harrassing them, why can't they adhere to rules, like having a proper num plate, display Id and License plate and any other security measures Police wants to take for safety of citizens. At the end, its their benefit only, for eg, when something untoward happens, identification of the actual victim is easier, and thereby no botheration to other rule-abiding autos.

Their demand is similar to what if we citizens start strike against the security checks being done at malls, airports etc because it takes up our time, and have to go through frisking. Isn't it? But at the end, who is beneficial, we citizens only. Similary, in this case, where police wants to have additinal checks, beneficials will be we citizens (we commuters + auto-drivers as well).

Now, lets talk about decling to hire, go by meter, over-charge and harrassing commuters...

Yes, this is a big problem, we citizens do something about its high time we have stand up and protest agains these atrocities. We as human being understand that an auto-driver also has to earn and feed his family with whatever he gets from riding. But for that, they have to understand that customer-delight is important, and they have to treat customer politely and accept what is the correct fare. If that being the case, we human beings (if not but few) will anyways can pay some tip, but the over-charging, extra fare etc is not going to work. If they feel, the Rs. 11 per km is less, please do a strike for that, and demand a better fare from govt, and then we will pay, depends we still want to choose them over Meru or any other cabs.

This is what I do, whenever I had to go somewhere by auto -

(1) I will try to find alternate solution to auto, either by bus etc or see if cab is more feasible.

(2) Depeds on how much time I have extra, lets say 5 mins I can spend finding a right auto, I would invest that. So, I will go to autodriver, ask him whether he will go to "dest", if he says yes and demand some extra or no-meter, I would straight-away walk away without answering him.
That's the best possible humiliation you can do at that point. Even he tries to call back, offer to go by meter or right amout, just let him shout, DON'T look back.

(3) If the auto drivers asks for 40-50% more amount than you feel it should be, then tell him some amount 40-50% less than the actual. For eg. you know your office is 7 kms, and its going to cost you max 77-80 Rs, and lets say he asks for Rs. 120 (It happens and even the worse than that happens), you answer - "Rs. 40 ?". Believe me, you had said them "NO" and in the best possible way. I had done this couple of times and will keep doing so. [While doing this, observe his expressions, he will be so much offended and might abuse you also, because you just entered into his territory by offering just the opposite of what he was asking]

I feel, saying "NO" to them is the one solution to balance the demand-supply. Because we are the ones, who have helped creating this artificial high demand, low supply, lets try to tell them "NO" also.

You must have seen, during the days when its a long weekend, during festivals, when many of the working people are out of bangalore and auto-drivers don't find much commuters, and you have to go some destination, you ask the first auto, he will readily come and that too at the exact fare, no 10-20 Rs extra, no kich-kich. This is the proof that demand-and-supply (artifical) has a role to play.

(4) Keep doing this for few autos, till you feel you have time to do so, otherwise next auto, ask, if its right then fine, if not, then negotiate, and whatever it feels good for you, take the ride, otherwise keep doing the same to all other autos.

 

I have seen many people (specially girls) not much arguing to autos, they have accepted that Rs. 10 or 20 is extra they have to pay for auto-commute, and they just don't want to spend 2 mins extra to solve this problem. Regular commuters -  I have a request, please say "NO" atleast to 2-3 auto drivers everytime whenever you have to take a ride, and even after doing that, you might have to pay that extra 10 Rs to 4th driver, but saying "No" that many times will make them understand that we are not going to take this lightly and protest.

Deepak

Bangalore is Mine's picture

Mumbai- Value for Time and Money

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@Murali

I have stayed in Mumbai for 12 years (did my schooling and graduation). I am in complete agreement with you.

Mumbai, undoubtedly is the most professional city in India. You will get the sense of professionalism in most of your interactions in your day-to-day life. People value time and money.

Driving auto/ cabs is considered a lowly profession by localities. Hence, they are dominated by migrants. For most of these migrants, income from driving is their only source of income for themselves and family (most of them leave thier families in their native towns and stay in chawls). They, therefore, follow a strict 'no-nonsense' policy to ensure they are not caught otherwise. Cops, too, take strict action when confronted with any issue. Thus, these migrants do abide by law.

In Bangalore, however, rickshaws are dominated by localities who believes he has a stake in the IT/ property boom which awakened the sleeping city.   For him, making 2-3 long distance trips (with generous tip demanded) makes him relax for the rest of the day, rather than making several short trips and sweating it out. Frankly, even we have to be blamed for encouraging him by succumbing to his greed (especially during peak hours)

In my case, till today, I use my car. In the absence of it, I patiently wait for bus or, walk 4-5 kms home/ office on a worse scenario. I simply cannot stand and negotiate. It is not acceptable to negotiate

Regds

Vimal

abidpqa's picture

The report does not say who

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The report does not say who mentioned this reason. Maybe the reporter deduced it from some comments. Or the person the reporter spoke to mentioned it  to present a more immediate or reason supposedly relavent locally. Maybe somebody thought social security etc. is not considered seriously.  I dont think there is any police harassment. Auto drivers are able to overcharge because they are able to influence the working of public transport I think.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Notorious auto meters - Mysore scenario

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In Mysore, one can have the worst possible experience with these notorious contraptions.  They have become necessary evils.  Public transport is not upto the mark and skewed.  Luckily, distances between important places can be covered by walk, if one can start a little early or break the journey into three segments; walk a little, take a bus and for a short distance, take an auto.  But   99 per cent of auto meters are tampered and law enforcers turn a nelson's eye when we try to report the atrociousness of these.  Rule books exist only in the almirahs of Police Commissioner/RTO/Dept.of Weights and Measures.

Even those autos that flaunt electronic meters do not oblige the passengers; they say that the meters are no longer relevant with increase in fuel cost every 15 days.  We will have to grin and bear this inconvenience of Autowallahs. Added to this is their arrogancy and brutal behavior, particularly with women folk and senior citizens.

While on the subject of fuel increase, be prepared to pay by the year 2022, a pocket money of about Rs.1000 per day for your college going son with a flashy Bike - Rs.758 + per litre of petrol and the rest for his lunch with friends.

Law is dead, long live the law Maker.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

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