A stern lesson to auto rickshaw drivers who refuse to ply passengers to required destinations was metted out by the Regional Transport Office. Around 918 auto rickshaw drivers in Mumbai and Thane found themselves relieved of their driver’s license in the past 6 months for refusal to ply passengers. These auto rickshaw drivers now cannot drive any public vehicle across the country and even though they have challenged this cancellation, their appeals have been rejected.
Some feel that this step taken by the RTO is indeed well deserved as many passengers have had to face refusals by auto rickshaw drivers who turn down their requests especially for plying over shorter distances.
The drivers blatantly refuse to ride, leaving passengers in the lurch where last mile commuting is concerned. There are others who cite that these drivers should be given another chance and taking such stern action takes its toll on their families.
The drive was led by State Transport Commissioner Shekhar Chenne and launched earlier this year. To date, 12,343 drivers have been booked for various offences out of which 918 were found to be auto rickshaw drivers who refused rides. There were a total of 5,500 drivers who were found to ferry more than 3 passengers while 6,257 were plying their vehicles without wearing badges or carrying their licenses. 42 drivers were charged for overcharging their passengers.
More than 60 percent of these drivers charged were from Bandra and Kurla, in areas such as BKC, Bandra Terminus and Kurla and Lokmanya Terminus. The balance was from Andheri, Vikhroli and Gharkopar.
This drive was lead following a slew of complaints from passengers and was headed by Assistant Regional Transport Officer Tanaji Chavan along with his team of 14 squads. The drive was conducted in a swift manner, with officers posing as customers to nab the errant auto rickshaw drivers who were found to be refusing rides to passengers.
Auto rickshaws are a vital means of transport especially where last mile connectivity is concerned. The passengers in Mumbai travel over vast distances by bus or local trains and the last distance to their residences are only possible via auto rickshaws. Refusal at this point of time is a cause for these passengers left with no means of transport and hence this step taken by the RTO is a welcome move. Auto rickshaw Union leader Thumpi Kurian has refuted this stand taken by the RTO. He has called it a harsh move especially in the light of the impact on the driver’s families.