K. Lakshmi and Deepa H. Ramakrishnan
Share autorickshaws are overcrowded and expensive
CHENNAI: Everyday, share autorickshaws transport thousands of people across the city. There are also four-wheeled ‘meter taxis’ in areas such as Anna Nagar. Share autorickshaws and meter taxis have today become an integral part of people’s lives in those parts of the city where public transport services are inadequate, especially in the suburbs. During rush hour , share autorickshaws can be seen plying with maximum commuters.
The government has fixed the fares at Re.1 a km per person. But after the hike in fuel prices, share autorickshaw drivers have increased the fares. Recently, drivers in Thiruvanmiyur and Anna Nagar added Rs.2 to the existing fares.
R. Murali, who plies a meter taxi between Anna Nagar and LIC, said he could recover the fuel cost only by increasing the fares and taking in more passengers. Growing competition from other drivers also drove him to take in more passengers.
Commuters using these autorickshaws often have to endure rash driving.
T. Suchitra, who takes a share autorickshaw from Aminjikarai to her office in Anna Salai, said, “I take share autorickshaws to avoid rush-hour congestion in buses. Now, these are equally crowded and the charge is thrice the bus fare.”
The Transport department has started to conduct checks on share autorickshaws for overcrowding, driving without permits or plying without paying road tax.
Joint Transport Commissioner D.Narayanamoorthy said that in the past one month, a total of 324 cases of overloading were booked and 155 cases for not possessing pollution certificate.
The share autorickshaws that ply in the suburbs were vehicles in which the seat was affixed to the luggage space to create more area for seating. Such alterations would not be allowed anymore, he said.
The traffic police have booked an average of 150 cases everyday for overloading share autorickshaws in a drive conducted in the past 15 days, said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sunil Kumar.
The department had been concentrating on overloading, but stricter measures would be launched soon.
The department decided to go ahead with cancellation of permit if required, he said.
(With inputs from