Pune News : RTA hiked autorickshaw fares last month and later suspended its decision, but drivers continue to charge more citing old reports about proposed hike from August 1 Many autorickshaw drivers were asking more than meter rates from passengers during spot visits to various areas in the city. Passengers board an auto at Pune airport on Thursday.
On July 25 this year, the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) decided to hike autorickshaw fares by ₹2, but the fare hike was suspended until the next meeting.
However, auto-rickshaw drivers in the city continue to fleece passengers by charging exorbitant fare from them citing old reports about the proposed hike from August 1 or not plying by meter and overcharging.
As per the proposal, autos were to charge ₹ 23 for the first 1.5 km instead of ₹21, and ₹15 for every subsequent kilometre instead of the prevailing rate of ₹14.
The notification about the same was issued by RTA on July 25 and it was later put on hold on July 28.
This week, HT visited various busy spots in the city – Pune station, Lohegaon airport road, Raviwar peth, Swargate and Katraj where it was found that many auto drivers were overcharging.
At Raviwar peth, on Thursday afternoon an auto-rickshaw driver told passenger Asha Raut he will charge the ride with ₹ 23 for Pune station.
Raut, a senior citizen, said, “At first the auto driver tried to convince me saying the fares have increased from August 1, but when I told him the decision was put on hold, he kept on arguing and showed me an old clipping of the newspaper.
I had to step out to look for another auto,” he said.
At Pune station, Priyam (he refused to reveal his full name), a passenger who was in hurry to board the Gorakhpur train on Thursday evening, was charged ₹130 for a distance of seven kilometres.
“I wanted to board auto from Viman Nagar square to Pune station and most of them declined to ply through metre saying the rates have increased and they are yet to recalibrate their metres.
“Since I was in a hurry, I boarded one of the autos and paid ₹130,” said Priyam.
Similar scenes were observed at Lohegaon airport where a passenger said he was charged ₹ 250 for a 10-kilometre distance. “The driver of the auto in which I travelled said the fares have gone up and charged ₹250 without plying through meter since it was not recalibrated.”
When HT tried to inquire with autorickshaw drivers at a stand at Raviwar peth, one of the drivers Salim Shaikh said they charge passengers as per old metre rates.
“No one charges as per revised rates. We charge as per old rates,” Shaikh further said.
Ajit Shinde, Pune regional transport officer (RTO), said, “We are taking action against auto-rickshaw drivers who are overcharging and I request people to inform us if they find any auto-rickshaw drivers charging extra than meter rates. We have not received any complaints yet.”
Many commuters complained that in Katraj, which is the busiest place in the evening, auto-rickshaw drivers demand a higher fare.
“An auto-rickshaw driver first asked me to pay ₹160 considering I am an outsider and don’t know the distance of Swargate to Katraj and then he agreed to take ₹100.
Which was more than normal fare which usually is around ₹70,” said Surbhi Kakade.
Another passenger said a ride from Swargate to Hadapsar costs around ₹150, however autorickshaw charge ₹200. When asked an autorickshaw driver, he replied saying during evening time there is a lot of traffic and it takes more time so we charge extra.
The driver refused to reveal his name.
Amit Paul, a daily commuter, said, “Autorickshaw drivers standing outside Swargate bus station charge extra citing fare hike last month which was put on hold.
I prefer private cabs at least they will not charge extra during daytime.”
Dadasaheb Chudappa, senior police inspector (Traffic) from Katraj, said, “Commuters should immediately complain to the police station whenever they find such autorickshaw drivers who are charging extra.”
Last year during a special drive, Pune police and the RTO, in joint action, recorded 5,000 violations by autorickshaw drivers.
Refusing to traverse short distances, not charging by the meter, and arrogant behaviour were some of the key issues concerning autorickshaw drivers in the city that regular commuters have highlighted.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)