Autorickshaw Drivers’ Display System (ADDS) — which was considered at least six months ago and then put on the “back burner” — will be implemented in Manipal in a month. The decision, after dithering for long, comes after a medical student of Manipal University was gang-raped on Thursday.
Superintendent of Police M.B. Boralingaiah said that he had discussed the matter with the officials of the Transport Department six months ago. “Besides having details of drivers and driving licence number, we planned to give a unique number to each autorickshaw. But the plan fell on back burner for some reason,” he said.
Mr. Boralingaiah said that six months ago, he had sought the cooperation of Manipal University in making the display cards. The university had also agreed to do it. “Now we will take it up again with them,” he said.
The Mangalore City Police are also considering asking autorickshaw owners to display the details of the vehicle and driver inside the autorickshaw for the benefit for passengers. Similar system introduced in Bangalore is considered to be effective.
“It is a good system. It can be implemented in the city,” said Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar. Though the Manipal incident could not be directly linked to the driver, Mr. Kharbikar said such a system will be a good initiative in the interest of commuters. He will have a discussion with Regional Transport Officer C. Mallikarjuna and then decide, Mr. Kharbikar said.
Now, commuters in Mangalore can lodge complaints against autorickshaw drivers using complaint cards available in traffic police stations, School Book Company, Tajmahal Hotel and Kalpana Sweets. Complaints can also be lodged on the Facebook page of Mangalore Traffic Police. As many as 109 cases of overcharging passengers and 93 cases of refusal to come on a route were registered in 2012. This year, 18 cases of refusing to take passengers and 25 of over-charging were registered. In all the cases, the owners were fined.
Started in 2006
The system of displaying identity cards on drivers was started by the Bangalore Police in 2006 following incidents of extortion and other crimes by auto drivers. The city’s Road Transport Authority made it mandatory for drivers to display their identity cards on the back of their seats so that commuters can see it.
These display cards were issued by the Bangalore Traffic Police. These cards have driver’s photograph and postal address.
Bangalore’s Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.A. Saleem said the system gave a sense of security to commuters as it made lodging complaints easier. Nearly four lakh complaints were filed in 2012.
Urban Planner Radha Chanchani from the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, who has studied autorickshaws in Bangalore, suggested regular updating of the address of driver.
The RTO Mr. Mallikarjuna, who favoured the identity card display system, said the city has 5,500 autorickshaws and in Bantwal, Moodbidri and Ullal together have 8,000.