Meter installation in auto-rickshaws still a distant dream

Passengers in City charged exorbitantly, authorities mute


Srinagar, Jan 1: Inordinate delay in installation of meters in auto-rickshaws is taking a heavy toll on passengers in the summer capital.
In violation of norms, the auto-rickshaw owners continue to take customers in Srinagar city for a ride by charging arbitrarily.
Though the Regional Transport Office (RTO) authorities had issued a directive to auto-rickshaw drivers to charge according to prescribed rate list, however they force passengers to pay exorbitant rates.
In absence of any services by mini-buses in evenings, passengers are forced to travel in auto-rickshaws to reach their respective destinations.
“An auto-rickshaw driver charged me Rs 200 from Lal Chowk to Soura. Most of the auto-rickshaw drivers have disconnected meters and charge according to their will and whim,” said Asif Ahmad a local.
Locals said the passengers face a tough time during evenings when other modes of transport are off the roads.
“We fail to understand why concerned authorities are using dilly dallying tactics to ensure that the auto-rickshaw drivers charge according to meter readings.
As per last year’s directive, auto-rickshaw drivers have to charge Rs 59 up to five kilometers. While the fare up to eight kilometers is Rs 93, the rate up to 10 kilometers is Rs 120.
The rates for auto-rickshaws were also notified by the State Transport Authority Vide No 51 MVD of 2110 in 2010.
The order makes it mandatory for auto rickshaw drivers to paste the rate list in the three-wheelers. “However, most of the auto-rickshaw drivers neither adhere to rate lists nor charge according to meter readings,” said Abdul Hamid of Dalgate.   
 The Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Srinagar, Haseeb Ur Rehman said the passengers who are overcharged by the auto-rickshaw drivers should lodge complaint with the Traffic department.
“We will seize auto-rickshaws against who complaints are lodged and take action according to law against erring drivers. But people should come to us with their complaints so that we can take action,” the SP said.
The SP however passed the buck to the RTO authorities for implementing the rate list or charging customers according fare-meter readings.
“Rates are issued by the RTO,” he added. 
Pertinently, in a bid to skirt the failure of getting meters installed in the three-wheelers, the traffic authorities came up with fare card idea. But it is yet to be enforced.
When contacted, RTO Kashmir, Muhammad Anees said revised rate list for auto- rickshaws will be issued within a week.
When asked why auto-rickshaws are plying on roads without meters, he said “At the time of registration, we ensure that meter is installed in them. The meter is later sealed by officials of the Metrology department. But once these autos-rickshaws ply on the road, they remove the meters.”

Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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