Navi Mumbai Following various complaints by commuters about auto rickshaws not plying by the meter in some parts of Navi Mumbai, the Vashi Regional Transport Office conducted a special drive and penalised 113 auto drivers in two days.
The drive was conducted at Nerul, Vashi, Karawe village and D Mart sector 48, Seawood and the cops collected a fine of ₹1.97 lakh.
“In some cases, the officials pose as customers to check if the auto drivers agree to go by meter or not. Also, the officers speak to the passengers to understand if the drivers had demanded any fixed rate while they hired the auto. We are also checking for permits, fitness of the vehicle and also if the driver is wearing a uniform,” Vashi Deputy RTO Hemangini Patil said.
In some of the areas of Navi Mumbai, the auto unions do not follow the meter system and go by the fixed charges. “The issue is mainly prevalent in the Nerul West area. The driver simply says that they do not follow the meter here and charge exorbitantly. At times, even autos from other parts of Nerul going blatantly charge a fixed amount instead of going by the meter. Where a meter reading would only charge ₹30, the driver charges ₹50 directly,” Madhu Das, a resident from sector 23, Nerul, said.
“No unions have the authority to decide the rates by themselves and they are bound to follow the rule and charge as per the meter reading,” Patil said.
Meanwhile, Kasam Mulani, president of Navi Mumbai Auto Mahasangh, said, “Some of the local unions follow the fixed rate system but they must follow the norms. Passengers are our bread and butter and they should not be fleeced. To the RTO as well, I would suggest conducting such checks regularly and not stop doing it after a few days of the drive. When the RTO doesn’t bother to keep a check, the auto unions decide to break the norms.”
For the ease of the passengers, Vashi RTO has the public to lodge complaints if any auto driver refuses to ply as per the meter at 18001208040 or by mailing at email@example.com.