In order to curb fleecing, the booths have been set up in crowded places across city

Guess who is running the prepaid autorickshaw booths in the city now?

A week ago, the Chennai traffic police started operating the booths outside the Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations, the Chennai Moffusil Bus Terminus, all major malls, government general hospitals and other places where people gather in large numbers.

Commuters have to approach the booth and inform a policeman of their planned destination.

“They will then be guided to an autorickshaw plying with a meter. The commuter will also be given a slip with a number to lodge complaints, if any,” said a senior traffic police officer.

This is part of an initiative by the police to curb fleecing by some autorickshaw drivers in the city.

“Many complaints regarding fleecing were from commuters outside railway stations and malls. Hence, we decided to start the booths there. A policeman will be available in the booths round the clock,” the officer added.

Over the past few weeks, the Chennai traffic police and transport department have initiated an intense crackdown on autorickshaw drivers who overcharge. Around 900 autorickshaws have been booked so far.

“This time we are recommending cancelling of permits,” said a senior traffic police officer.

Commuters have expressed their relief at the recent drive by the police.

“Now the fear factor is making the drivers ply by the meter. There are still some unruly drivers, however,” said K. Natesan, a resident of Periamet.

Meanwhile, autorickshaw unions have condemned the government’s delay in supplying GPS-fitted meters.

“The government is cracking down on autorickshaws that are not plying by the meter and imposing an exorbitant fine. But the government has not fulfilled its promise of providing us the GPS meters,” said J. Seshasayanam, general secretary of the Madras Metro Auto Drivers Association.

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