No headway on installation of fare meters in auto-rickshaws in Srinagar

Passengers suffer, forced to pay exorbitant fare; authorities in slumber
Representational Image
Representational Image File/ GK

Srinagar: Failure of authorities to install fare meters in auto-rickshaws in the summer capital is taking a heavy toll on passengers as they are forced to pay exorbitant fare. 

Passengers said that despite passing of directions to ensure that only metered auto-rickshaws operate in the city, authorities have failed to implement its directive. .

“Srinagar is a rare place where auto-rickshaws operate without meters. As per law, there must be a proper mechanism where you pay rates as per distance traveled, but here everything is different. Even if the passenger is traveling between two shortest points, the rate is above Rs 100. Different auto rickshaw operators charge different rates. There are many people who don’t own vehicles and rely on public transport like autos. Their hard-earned money goes into paying higher fares while authorities watch as mute spectators,” said Arif Rasool, an office goer.

Passengers said that for a distance of fewer than three Kms, they have to pay anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 200. They said that during the absence of buses and cabs in the evenings, during inclement weather, or any other disturbance, the fare of auto rickshaws go even higher.

“During winters, there is already a public transport issue, and some auto rickshaw operators take undue advantage of it by overcharging. Female passengers face a lot of difficulty due to high fares. We cannot hitchhike like male passengers and most office goers, students don’t have a personal vehicle, and this is where we suffer most. We hope authorities will look into the issue as this has been going on for years,” said Mehnoor Bhat , a female passenger.

Greater Kashmir did a series of stories on the issue, and most auto rickshaw operators said they don’t install meters as they are unaware   about such directions.

“We are operating in the city, and if we are stopped and asked for meters, we will install it. If meters are to be installed, we hope that the government will consider high fuel prices and the rates will be regulated accordingly so we don’t suffer losses,” said Farooq Ahmed, an auto-driver.

RTO Kashmir did not respond to multiple calls from this reporter for the comments.

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