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Prepaid auto service launched

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Smoother ride: A scene on the Kozhikode railway station premises on Monday after the prepaid auto service was introduced.
Smoother ride: A scene on the Kozhikode railway station premises on Monday after the prepaid auto service was introduced.

Staff Reporter

Service from railway station to 132 destinations in a 5.5-km radius of the city

Kozhikode: Prepaid autorickshaw services started functioning at the Kozhikode railway station on Monday. City Police Commissioner S. Sreejith inaugurated the counter. Kozhikode railway station manger T.P.K Sivadas was also present on the occasion.

The service will be available to 132 locations in a 5.5 km-radius of the city. The fare, which has been fixed in consultation with the auto rickshaw drivers’ union, has also been displayed at the counter.

Two policemen have been deputed at the counter to issue tokens to passengers. More personnel will be deployed in the coming days. The permit number of the autorickshaw and the fare are mentioned on the token. Passengers can call the control room in case of complaints.

Objection to fee

Passengers will have to pay Rs.2 towards fee for the service. They will have to pay additional charges for travelling to routes not identified by the traffic department. Extra charge of 50 per cent will also have to be paid for the service during night hours. Several passengers objected to paying Rs.2 as service fee on Monday. Many of them who arrived from Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad said that the service fee at these stations for pre-paid autorickshaw service was only Re.1.

But Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B. Prasannan Nair said that the Railways had fixed the service charge of Rs. 2. Almost all the pre-paid counter service in the Southern Railway was following a uniform pattern. In Thiruvananthapuram, the city Corporation had allotted the land for the parking bay (in Kozhikode, the land belongs to the Railways) and in Palakkad only a few autorickshaws had been permitted to park at the railway stations and carry out the service. The autorickshaw drivers at Palakkad remit Rs.600 for six months to Railways as fee for parking at the station. This system was introduced at the Kozhikode station in April. But drivers objected to paying parking fee and boycotted the railway station. So, the then Commissioner of Police Anup Kuruvilla John discussed the issue with the Palakkad Railway Divisional Manager Yathindra Pal Singh and it was decided to introduce a prepaid service at the railway station.

Now all the 4,100-odd autorickshaws with Regional Transport Office (RTO) permits can join the service. However stern action would be taken against drivers for taking in passengers in front of the railway station. All vehicles coming to the station should proceed along the parking bay at the station, Mr. Nair said.

The prepaid auto service has been a long-pending demand of the residents. Ten years ago a prepaid counter functioned at the railway station but ceased functioning less than a year after it started operation.

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