Humble Meters

The state government issued ‘strict’ instructions for installation and calibration of fare meters in all auto-rickshaws across the state in August 2015. But so far not a single auto-rickshaw was seen plying with its fare meter on.

The concerned minister said the directive was passed after complaints were received that these auto-rickshaw drivers are overcharging tourists and duping them.

Being a regular traveler, I would like to tell the honourable minister that it is not only the tourists who suffer, but locals like me have to go through this mess every day. For a short distance of 2.8 kms from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh auto rickshaws charge Rs 100! Earlier they used to charge Rs 80 for the same distance, but after the construction of flyover in the area, they started demanding extra money. And, on top of it, one has to literally plead with the auto drivers to reach his/her destination.

In last two months, I came across just one police nakka (near SMHS). The policemen simply stopped the rickshaw and after a mild scold for not using a fare-meter, he was let go without any fine.

After the governments order some auto drivers made their meters functional just to stay out of the trouble. But they never used it for sake of passengers! As I am a regular traveler, I requested the auto driver to put the meter on as I just want to check the distance. He was reluctant. But after I assured him that I will pay him Rs 100 anyway, and not according to meter, he agreed.

Normally, to avoid traffic jams most of the rickshaws take alternative route from Bakshi stadium, which passed through Alucha Bagh to reach Barzulla. But that day, the auto driver decided to take the longest route via Gogji Bagh. When I reached my destination I handed over an Rs 100 note to the auto driver, while the reading on his humble meter demanded just Rs 43!

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