Purushottam B., a regular commuter, shows a cement platform near the autorickshaw stand when this reporter asks for the spot where the new pre-paid autorickshaw counter is slated to come up at the Mangalore Junction Railway Station.
“This is all that has been done. Nothing has changed in the last few months even as announcements are made about starting of the facility here.” Mr. Purushottam is among the many demanding early introduction of the facility and save commuters from being fleeced by autorickshaw drivers. “There have been many like me paying twice or thrice the actual fare to reach the station and to go to the city from here,” he said.
Mangalore Junction Railway Station, popularly known as Kankanady station, hosts many trains, including those moving to northern and eastern parts of India, stop at this station, which is located about 500 metres from the National Highway. With poor road condition and lack of city buses there has been great demand for autorickshaw and taxi service at this station. The authorities had been postponing the plans to start pre-paid autorickshaw facility at the station. Following a Regional Transport Authority meeting in March, Regional Transport Officer C. Mallikarjuna said a Kiosk will start functioning from April and a bank had come forward to meet the expenses of erection of Kiosk.
Two months later, Mr. Mallikarjuna said the new kiosk would come up by the end of June.
The delay in commencing the facility has irked many commuters. “We are forced to ply in autorickshaw that do not make use of meters,” said P. Satish, a commuter. The delay, he suspected, might be because of lobbying by autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers operating from the Mangalore Junction Railway Station.
Mr. Mallikarjuna said the delay had been because of the time taken for preparation of the super structure of the kiosk. The super structure would be installed on the concrete platform by the end of this month. “We will start operation of the kiosk from December.” Mr. Mallikarjuna said.