Srinagar, Aug 6: Failure of authorities to install fare meters in auto-rickshaws is taking a heavy toll on passengers in the summer capital.
In absence of meters in auto-rickshaws, passengers are forced to pay exorbitant fares. Despite various orders by authorities, auto-rickshaws are operating without meters in violation of norms. They said the transport authorities and Traffic Police have failed to push operators to ensure installation of meters..
“We are facing huge inconvenience due to exorbitant fares charged by auto-rickshaw drivers, but authorities are sitting on the issue. I have been hearing about directions and orders by authorities to ensure meters in autos, but nothing is being done in this regard on the ground. Unless some concrete steps are taken in this regard, things won’t change,” said Mushtaq Ahmed, a passenger.
Passengers said that while traveling a short distance of a few kms, they have to pay anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 200. They said that the rates get even higher in absence of buses and cabs in evenings, during inclement weather, or any other disturbance.
“When there is an absence of buses or cabs after sunset, prices go even higher in absence of any check. A passenger has no option but to pay the exorbitant fare” said Sahil Ahmed. . They said female passengers and students face a lot of difficulty due to high fares.
“Most office goers, students don’t have a personal vehicle, and rely on public transport. Females like myself can’t even hitchhike, and most of the time, we end up paying thrice the actual fare for auto rides,” said a female passenger.
RTO Kashmir, Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari, said that the enforcement wing of the department has been strengthened, and they will increase the checks.
“We have newly inducted officials in our team, and that is why you can see we are taking strict measures against every kind of violation. We will ensure that only those auto rickshaws which are with meters will operate. I also want to inform passengers that if they see any auto rickshaw operator without a meter, they should notify us. I assure you that necessary action will follow,” Bukhari said.