An overloaded auto at Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad on Thursday. (Gautam Dey)
Coal town auto fares will go up by 20 per cent from Friday, but commuters are against it, citing woefully poor passenger amenities.
As per the decision taken by the district transport committee headed by sub divisional officer Abhishek Srivastava on Wednesday evening, the maximum fare on any route will be Rs 58 for a journey of 45km, while the minimum fare will be Rs 5.
Typically, a 45km-commute from Dhanbad to Chirkunda would now cost Rs 58 against the previous fare of Rs 48.
Similarly, the new fare, ex-Dhanbad, to Sindri will be Rs 29 against the earlier Rs 24, and to Tundi will be Rs 36 against Rs 30.
The passenger association of the district termed the district transport committee’s decision “one sided” and taken unilaterally.
“The hike is totally unjustified as passenger amenities on autos have not improved while the fares had been hiked exponentially,” chief of Dhanbad Jila Yatri Upbhokta Sangh Shiv Ranjan Singh told The Telegraph.
He explained why autos were inconvenient for those going to the railway station or bus stand. “You can’t travel in any auto-rickshaws because there is no space for keeping luggage,” he said.
Singh alleged that four-seaters had been converted to 10-seater autos by making passengers sit at the rear that was meant to be used to keep luggage.
“We have submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar, demanding immediate roll back of the fare hike. We have also submitted a copy to the sub divisional officer Srivastava,” he said.
The sub divisional officer, however, said that no passenger association had contacted the administration before the hike was decided.
“A final decision regarding a roll back of the fare hike can only be taken by deputy commissioner Kumar,” he added.
Dhanbad DSP (traffic) Ashok Kumar Tirkey visited various auto routes between noon to 3pm on Thursday to finalise sites for temporary three-wheeler stops.
Among the sites being considered were Puja Talkies Chowk, Combined Building Chowk, Luby Circular Road, Randhir Verma Chowk, Rangatand, Subhash Chowk, City Style Chowk, Pani Tanki on Joraphatak Road and SBI Chowk on Matkuria Road.
“We conducted a survey of some locations but many routes are yet to be looked at. We will visit those areas tomorrow (Friday) and will submit a final report to the SDO for designating auto stops,” Tirkey said.