The Telegraph
Friday , July 25 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Fair travel in prepaid autos

Fights with autorickshaw drivers over fare could soon be a thing of the past, as a plan to have 16 prepaid autorickshaw booths in different localities has been approved.

Patna Zila Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh already runs one prepaid booth at Patna Junction. The association recently presented the proposal to have 16 more before the regional transport authority. The office gave the green light on Wednesday.

Once land is acquired, the prepaid booths would come up in front of the traffic hotspots, near railway stations and health hubs. Mahavir temple, Gandhi Maidan (near Kali temple), Rajendra Nagar station, AIIMS-Patna, IGIMS, Patna airport, Ashiana Mor, Karbigahiya, Boring Road roundabout, Pani Tanki (Boring Road), Gai Ghat, Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, Mithapur bus stand, Phulwarisharif Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, Agamkuan and Danapur railway station are the spots where residents can get themselves a prepaid auto.

Rajkumar Jha, the association’s general secretary, said the aim was to provide commuters hassle-free service.

“Residents would be able to avail the service of the prepaid autos from the booths, all of which would have a fixed rate chart for the different routes. The drivers cannot overcharge the passengers. So, unlike the usual autos, travel by the prepaid three-wheelers would be a lot hassle free,” said Jha.

Ramanuj Singh, a 72-year-old retired government employee living in Kankerbagh, was happy to hear that. “There have been times I have had to fight with auto drivers for overcharging me. This won’t happen at the prepaid booths thanks to the fixed rate chart.”

The minimum fare for a 1.5km and odd journey would be Rs 50, Jha said.

Security is a priority for the association too.

Jha said: “The person manning a prepaid booth would have to note down a passenger’s details, including cellphone number and address, when he/she comes to book an auto. The passenger would be given two receipts at the booth with the official’s mobile number. In case the passenger faces any problem, he/she can call up the official and immediate action would be taken.”

To ensure passengers reach their destination safely, he said: “A passenger would have to keep one receipt and return the other to the driver after signing it at the destination. The driver would have to submit the receipt at the prepaid booth and only then would he be given the prepaid fare. All these arrangements are available at the existing prepaid booth at Patna Junction. We will replicate them.”

If passengers forget to offload their luggage, that, too, can be retrieved with one call to the prepaid booth official.

Pushpalata Sinha, a 36-year-old resident of Pataliputra, said: “The safety measures planned by the auto union are commendable. We would be able to take the prepaid autos without fear.”