The Mr. Auto campaign, an initiative aimed at sensitising autorickshaw drivers on road rules and improving autorickshaw services in the city, concluded on Thursday with awards given out to three autorickshaw drivers. The campaign, which lasted a month and a half, was conducted by Muthoot Finance with Chennai Live 104.8 FM as a radio partner and with the support of the Chennai Traffic Police. Commuters were asked to vote for their particular auto as ‘good' or ‘bad', on criteria that included safety, courtesy of the driver, presentation and appearance, and the amount they charged as per the meter. Launched at the end of March, stickers and leaflets were handed out to 20,000 autorickshaws across all zones in the city.
From the 7,600 genuine votes received, three winners were short-listed. The first and third prize winners, R. Viswanathan and K. Albert Abraham received cheques worth Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 10,000 respectively. The second prize winner, Pradeep, who won Rs. 15000, however, could not be traced and did not show up to claim his prize money. An elated Mr. Abraham plans to use the money to get the annual fitness certificate for his autorickshaw. When asked about his expectations from a passenger, he said, “I just want them to be peaceful and not talk so much about their day's troubles.”
The prizes were given away by the Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sanjay Arora. “I would like to appreciate the initiative taken and hope for similar initiatives from other agencies,” he said also commending the contribution of auto drivers for helping out victims during road traffic accidents.
Prem Kumar, Chief Operating Office of Chennai Live, said, “We have been able to impact a change in the behaviour of autorickshaw drivers and also sensitise them about safe driving.”
Mr. Kumar also said they would launch other campaigns in the future. “We've managed to cover 20,000 autos. Now, we're looking at the buses, which are notorious for their rash driving. In fact, I am on my way to speak to the Managing Director of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation,” he added.