To rein in errant auto drivers, the deputy regional transport officer Bharat Kalaskar had taken many initiatives. A squad was formed to check in on errant behaviour. The squad members used to reach the complainant within 20 minutes of call. Around 10,000 complaint books were circulated in housing societies for hapless commuters to lodge their complaints. Complaints were also taken online and through direct phone lines. And as an add-on he had also given his direct mobile number to receive complaints directly. No doubt the response received then was overwhelming but as days passed the number of calls dropped.
According to sources, there are around 15,000 auto-rickshaws plying. Among them around 7,000 are legal and the rest 8,000 are plying illegally in Navi Mumbai.
One of the biggest problems commuters face is the auto drivers’ refusal to ply only on main roads and not in city interiors. Secondly, they also charge half return for travelling from one node to another. Shazia Shaikh, resident of Sector 22, Koperkhairane complains, “These autowallahs always refuse to come to our area from any corner of the city.” A resident of Sector 29, Vashi has a similar complaint. “There are many routes in Navi Mumbai where these auto drivers refuse to go. Many a time they refuse even if they are sitting idle on the auto stand.”
Shaikh adds, “Moreover, these auto drivers have no qualms about jumping signals and risking the life of passengers. Even if any passenger complains they simply ignore and drive the way they want to.”
If one wants to go from Koperkhairane or Vashi to Sanpada, Nerul, CBD-Belapur, Airoli and other nodes, they demand half return charges. As per rules, they can charge half return only after midnight. Although there are autos running on petrol as well as CNG, however charging rates for both have been kept common. The charge is higher in comparison to Mumbai, where the fare is Rs 9 per metre.
Dy RTO Kalaskar responds, “I have made my number open for all. Since we cannot reach each and every errant auto driver, if anyone comes across any such driver they can call me directly at 9969854555 or call 27650701 or 27650702 and register their complaint. Accordingly within 20 minutes our squad will reach the spot and take action. We have taken action against hundreds of such culprits through co-ordination with commuters.”
The RTA decides auto fare in respective regions in Maharashtra but in Mumbai MMRTA decides tariffs for Mumbai region. As per MMRTA resolution dated 09/02/2009 auto fare in Navi Mumbai region is as follows:
—Jaspal Singh Naol