A couple of years ago, 55-year-old K. Vasudevan boarded an autorickshaw from Chennai Central railway station to his brother’s house in West Mambalam. After getting off, he realised he had forgotten his bag, which contained some money, in the autorickshaw. He frantically tried to trace the driver but to no avail.

From Saturday, passengers arriving at Central Station will not have to go through the agony of searching for forgotten luggage. In a pilot project, autorickshaw drivers stationed around Central Station have been given identification-cum-business cards by the Government Railway Police.

The card has the driver’s name, address, cell phone number and vehicle registration number printed on the front and the number of the GRP station on the back. The drivers have paid from their pockets to get the cards printed.

It is mandatory for the driver to hand over the card to the passenger once he/she boards the autorickshaw. “There have been complaints about autorickshaw drivers over-charging or sometimes harassing passengers. In a bid to prevent this, R. Sekar, additional director general of police, GRP, came up with the idea of an identity card,” S. Sekar, GRP inspector, Chennai Central.

If passengers feel that the driver is overcharging, they can call the GRP station and read out the vehicle number and driver details printed on the card. On the other hand, if the passengers are pleased with the service, they can save the driver’s number for future reference, said Mr. Sekar.

Autorickshaw drivers, too, are happy with the new system. “If a passenger forgets his/her luggage in the vehicle, they can call us and we will return it to them or leave it at the GRP station. The passengers will also have a sense of security,” said A. Arul of the Chennai Central Autorickshaw Drivers Association.

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Vivek NarayananJune 28, 2012

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