Police action against autorickshaw drivers operating vehicles without functioning meters continues months after the special drive to curb fleecing was launched.
The city police took action against 78 autorickshaw drivers in the last week.
The police drive against fleecing had slowed during the elections. Since the polls are over, police officers are now conducting regular checks and are imposing a fine of Rs.100 on those caught running without functioning meters. City residents, however, feel the drive has largely been unsuccessful as most autorickshaw drivers still charge according to their whims.
“I take an autorickshaw from near my house to my workplace frequently and the fare charged by the autorickshaw drivers is different each time. I pay them whatever they ask or else they would start an argument,” said Ranjita Jose, a city resident. The sentiment was echoed by other city residents who had to listen to drivers’ stories about traffic blocks in the city due to Metro Rail work and rising vegetable prices when they question unfair pricing.
“It is impossible for a person to run a family with the current fare system. We charge more only because we too need to survive,” said Lateesh P.B., an autorickshaw driver in the city. During talks with district administration and the police, drivers’ unions had suggested a revision of the fares. While the proposal was accepted following an autorickshaw strike in February, it was put on the back burner when the elections set in.
City police, however, rate the special drive as a success. “The situation has improved greatly and most autorickshaw drivers now operate the meter. We are taking strict action against those that continue to violate the rules,” said a senior police officer in the city.