Autorickshaws flouting every traffic rule, and without caring for the safety of their passengers and others, ply with impunity in Salt Lake and VIP Road, among other places.
After commercial operations of East-West Metro started between Sealdah and Sector V, a section of auto drivers has started operating on truncated routes between the Sector V Metro station and various places in the tech hub, including College More, RDB Boulevard and the SDF bus stop.
Most autos on this stretch and other parts of the tech township ply with five passengers — three on the back seat and two beside the driver — in violation of rules.
An officer in the Bidhannagar commissionerate said autorickshaws in Salt Lake as well as those plying on VIP Road can ferry only up to four passengers at a time.
The three-wheelers take illegal turns and overtake other vehicles from whatever direction they want to, without bothering to wait for the vehicle they want to overtake to move aside.
Accidents are frequent in these pockets. People who drive to and from workplaces said auto drivers gang up instantly after an accident to intimidate those driving cars.
Fares, too, are being charged arbitrarily as there is no registered route between the Sector V Metro station and any spot within Sector V.
Palash Chakraborty, 29, a techie who lives off Lebutala Park in central Kolkata’s Sealdah, takes a Metro from the Sealdah station to his workplace in Sector V. He said he was charged Rs 25 for a ride by auto from the Sector V Metro station to College More.
The distance from the station to College More is only 2km.
“An auto ferrying five passengers stopped in front of the station and the driver asked me where I was headed. When I told him College More, he asked me to get on the auto. After I got off, he demanded Rs 25. The fare was exorbitant,” said Chakraborty.
On VIP Road, too, autos weave in and out, move through the wrong flank and often ferry five passengers at a time. At Kestopur and Baguiati, autos switch lanes with impunity and often drive down the wrong flank of VIP Road.
An officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said autos could not stray outside the lane assigned to them. The standard fine is Rs 100 for the violation.
If an auto switches lanes while racing another vehicle or causes inconvenience to the driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, the auto driver can be booked under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The penalty for the first offence under the section is Rs 400.
Autos are also regularly spotted parked outside the designated auto stands near the Kestopur crossing, Baguiati and the Joramandir intersection.
On Monday, five persons were injured when the autorickshaw they were travelling in collided with a hatchback in the service lane of VIP Road near the Sreebhumi bus stand.