The police will start prepaid autorickshaw stands in at least five important locations in the city.

They include the Medical College Hospital (MCH) junction, General Hospital, Pettah and Veli railway stations, East Fort, and one more at Thampanoor. Most of the new facilities will function round the clock.

The police say they have received complaints that certain autorickshaw drivers extract exorbitant fares from patients coming for treatment at various facilities inside the MCH campus, including the Regional Cancer Centre.

A majority of the patients hail from socially and economically less privileged sections of society and can ill-afford the exaggerated fare auto drivers slap on them.

Better control

The police say their policy is to start the maximum number of prepaid stands in the city. They believe that such a move will give them better control over the more than 30,000 autorickshaws that operate in their jurisdiction. Only 4,100 of them have permit to operate in the city.

136 drivers booked

In the past two days, the Thampanoor police alone booked 136 auto drivers on various charges, including operating without engaging fare meter, overcharging, misbehaving with women passengers, and refusing to take passengers on short trips.

The police say they will not allow auto drivers to appropriate public space for parking their vehicles. They are preparing a list of authorised ‘auto parking lots’ to ensure they do not evolve as hubs of anti-social activity.

The unchecked profusion of autorickshaws is the main reason for snarls and slow-moving traffic on urban thoroughfares. The tendency of auto drivers to save on fuel by breaking one-way restrictions, taking u-turns, or overtaking from the left side has been the cause of hundreds of accidents.

The police will not restrict auto drivers without urban permit from transporting passengers from outlying areas into the city. However, they will not be allowed to operate within urban limits.