On ECR and the IT corridor, RTO officials take action against drivers of these vehicles for overloading and operating without permits. T.S. Atul Swaminathan reports

With the Regional Transport Office cracking the whip on Ape autos (share-autos) and Tata Magic cabs for overloading and operating without permits, auto drivers operating on East Coast Road and the IT Corridor have been left with no choice but to disassemble the rear bench seats.

But, the move has not gone well with these drivers, who have been operating on ticket basis. Earlier, they used to board 10 people at a time. Now they have been forced to follow the rule book, which says they can take only three passengers.

“I am not able to run my family. I have to pay for my children school fees, auto-maintenance, and daily vehicle rent. I am in this occupation for the past 12 years. Now, I don’t know where to go. My future looks bleak,” said A. Siva Kumar, a share auto driver on ECR.

He wants the RTO increases the seating capacity in share-autos to at least four.

“I charge a minimum of Rs. 5 from Tidel Park to Kandanchavadi, which is three km away. Using the meter will not work for share autos. People working in the IT sector prefer share-autos. After, I removed the rear bench people refused to get in thinking it was a regular auto,” M. Rangaswamy, a share-auto driver on IT Corridor, said.

At present, around 2,000 share-autos, operate on the ECR and OMR. Meanwhile, RTO officials have said that share autos will not be permitted to take more than three passengers at a time. “They are regular autos and load vehicles. Taking advantage of the huge body of the vehicle, the drivers run it as share-autos. If the drivers continue to overload the passengers, a show cause notice will be issued and necessary action will be taken, including cancellation of permit and license. “Though we are taking steps to prevent over-loading by seizing the vehicle, the drivers after the vehicle is released go to the welding shop and alter the vehicle according to their needs and convenience,” the officials added.

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