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autos

More autos to choke traffic-burdened roads of Bengaluru?


BENGALURU: With the recent high court order doing away with the mandatory requirement of permits to register autorickshaws in the city, the transport department is now in a fix.

It fears the court order could pave the way for a large number of newly registered, permitless autorickshaws ferrying passengers illegally, adding to its burden of enforcement even as it is battling staff shortage.

TimesView

Increasing the number of vehicles will only make a bad situation worse on city roads already infamous for traffic congestion. It is certain to extend commute times for Bengalureans. Instead, what the government should do is give a fillip to the Namma Metro network by providing viable last-mile connectivity. Providing wellcoordinated BMTC services across the city will encourage commuters to use buses. Speeding up the suburban rail project will also be a shot in the arm. Moreover, encouraging existing auto drivers to launch an app-based alternative to cab aggregators can help in ensuring existing auto services are properly utilised.

In July, an auto driver approached the HC against the RTO Bengaluru central (Koramangala) after the transport department refused to register his vehicle as he lacked a permit to ply on city roads. The court said there is no need for a permit to register a vehicle.

An increasing number of auto drivers are now queuing up before RTOs across the city requesting registration, citing the HC order. “At present, we are allowing them to register only at the Koramangala office as it was a party in the case,” said a senior transport department official.

He said more than 2,000 autos have been registered at the Koramangala RTO alone after the court order. “It’s illegal to run autos without valid permits. But we don’t have adequate manpower to crack down on such violators. Most of them get away after paying a small fine even if they are caught by our enforcement staff,” he added.

All public transport vehicles with yellow boards need permits from the transport department. HG Kumar, former secretary, state transport authority, said: “If a public transport vehicle like an auto without permit is involved in an accident, the driver and passenger will not be eligible for any accident claim. When an auto driver registers a vehicle, he or she will operate it on city roads. Unfortunately, this aspect was not brought to the court’s notice.”

At present, there are several complaints against auto drivers for refusal to ply, demanding excess fare, violating traffic rules and illegal parking. “Our roads are already clogged with vehicles. They demand double the government-fixed fare and refuse to ply during peak hours,” said Sangeetha S, a resident of Koramangala.

C Sampath, general secretary of Adarsh Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said: “Bengaluru requires about 1.6 lakh autorickshaws. The recent HC order will further increase their number in the city. Most of these drivers who get registered ply on city roads without permits and usually refuse to go to areas where police checking is done. This will also give a wrong impression to all auto drivers.”



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