Feb. 18: Be it an order from the transport department, strict instructions from the district administration or frequent appeals from commuters, nothing seems to move those plying auto-rickshaws here to install electronic fare meters, a system followed in cities across the country.
As the tussle between transport department and autorickshaw unions continues over installation of fare meters, The Telegraph on Monday talked to five residents, belonging to different fields, who often rely on that mode of transport though it burns a hole in their pockets every time.
Pranita Medhi, schoolteacher
I fully support the district administration’s instruction for installation of fare meters in autorickshaws and the new fares fixed. Those plying autorickshaws here are charging fares according to their wishes. I studied in Delhi and used autorickshaws there, too, but the way fares are charged here is really absurd. I often use autorickshaws from Zoo Road Tiniali to reach my school at Dispur but I have to pay Rs 100 when it should not be more than Rs 40. I would like to appeal to the administration to be stricter in enforcing the use of fare meters. Besides, there should be a helpline for passengers to complain to the traffic police in case the autorickshaws do not use the meters even after installation
Gurpreet Singh Uppal, member, Aam Aadmi Party
Autorickshaw-walas here are simply fleecing the residents as well as those visiting the city. I feel that our administration is still weak in controlling the autorickshaws and stopping them from collecting fares according to their will. A constant drive should be carried out and those found running their vehicles without fare meters should not be shown any mercy. Their licences should be cancelled immediately. The autorickshaw-walas target commuters at the railway station and bus stands, particularly those coming from outside, and charge fares according to their wishes. While returning from Bangalore recently with my family, I was surprised when an autorickshaw asked Rs 200 to take me to my home at Narikalbasti, which is only 6km from Guwahati railway station. Finally, I had no option but to walk up to the Reserve Bank of India point and hire another autorickshaw for Rs 120. This should stop
Megha Kashyap, activist
The monopolistic and arrogance of charging unreasonable fares from passengers by autorickshaws should be put to an end immediately. There is no genuine reason of their reluctance to install fare meters. It is only because they are spoilt with the luxury of charging as they wish. It is not only our administration, commuters, too, can play a role in bringing a change for the better. I request everyone to stop travelling by auto if the drivers do not have the meter installed in his vehicle. After all, it is the common people who suffer the most
Lakhi Kanta Medhi, retired college teacher
The aged and those who are ill suffer the most because of the absence of fare meters in autorickshaws here. Those who don’t own cars and cannot commute by bus because of the congestion also have to pay unreasonable amounts. Those who are plying autorickshaws should try to understand people’s woes and install fare meters. This practice will bring bad name to our city as autorickshaws pliers often fight with even outsiders over fares.
Pinkee Borah, student
Fare meters should not only be installed immediately but our traffic police should ensure that the meters are used and fares collected according to the meter reading. There should be a system through which harassment of commuters, particularly women, by the autowalas after evening