I am a US Qualified Registered Microbiologist-Medical Technologist, operating my own Clinical Lab. I have been an activist advocating consumer, civic, citizen's rights for Thirty plus years & a Frequent contributor to the letters to Editor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How can chennai be called Chennai with auto service like this?

Dear Mr Chief Minister Karunanidhi,
We just visited your "beautiful" Chennai this week.

Chennai means beautiful is it not?

Our experiences with autorickshaw transport the sheer day light robbery they conduct day in and out and how you and your government tolerates and turns a blind eye to it makes me send you this following complaint which holds very good for your Chennai also.

Just replacing the word chennai/ Tamil nadu where Bengaluru and Karnataka appear.

WHY is it that meters are installed at all in the autos? for beautifying the auto?

Kindly take what action is required to bring paid private transport like autos and taxis

to global levels of fairness and justice if you are interested in improving the fair name of your city.

Why do we license auto,taxi, coolie raja (D)Evils to be Bengaluru Brand Ambassadors?

Bangalore is considered one of the best destinations for tourists, visitors, residents and retirees etc.

Any one coming into a city is first greeted by the port of entry-bus,train station or airport.

The kind of people you run into first leaves the lasting impression of any city.

Hired transport like autos and taxis, coolies, are invariably the first impression.

If they cheat on their fare, take you for a ride at your expense, talk rudely to you or recommend a stranger to a hotel because the hotel gives you a finders fee, the impression on the visitor is bound to be disgust.

Fare gouging is considered a very serious offense which can cost the taxi company owner and driver license to operate in the west.

It is benevolently tolerated here.

The porters at the bus and train stations are rude, greedy and 'unregulated ' 'licensed' mob.

Since public transport is miserable in Bangalore especially for visitors with baggage, the only option they have is autorickshaws.

Taxis offered a more respectable option but become too expensive for one or two passengers.

But with the advent of new breed of fourwheeled goondas even they have fallen to disrepute.

Autorickshaws have ended up being the major mode of daily transport.

Public transport is inaccessible, inadequate in the residential areas which have crept beyond the reach of major roads,during the unregulated growth of the city with privately developedbadly laid lay outs with narrow roads.

Autos having become a necessity, but we have nurtured them into evils by tolerating their excesses.

We dont demand from the authorities to regulate and control them, to do so.

There is no control on the type of people who can get drivers licenses.

They are rude, greedy, discourteous.

Worst of all, are horrible drivers, honking and speed demons, grossly violating lane, traffic rules left to right, driving their autos into spaces that can just fit their front wheel causing innumerable unreported accidents.

They have no use for traffic rules.

They tamper the meters with impunity, provided by lax enforcement or governance.

The anti citizen, two tiered-one and ahlf times day rate for night rates - have encouraged a whole breed of "NIGHT AUTOS"

whose meters are so grossly tampered they cannot ever fall in to the legal metrology sleuths hands.

This rule was probably brought in at the expense of the citizens, as the government buckled under the union pressure.

The mandatory display of driver details in the auto is meaningless because most autos are run on hire basis by the driver.

One auto is driven probably on 3 shifts by different drivers. It would be more meaningful if the driver wears a photo badge with name and licence detail so there is some accountability for their behaviour and action. As it is any threat of complaint will be countered by the usual response you can complain to anybody you want

born of the confidence that nothing will be done about it.

even if you do manage to get the auto registration number- despite the defective, no side board, very small lettering and only in kannada number plates.

This only kannada number plate menace has spread encouraging rude, irresponsible,lawlessness born of the confidence that many enforcement authorities can not read kannada numbers.

Bhasha Abhimana, in this case is an index of lawlessness of the driver/owner.

A deplorable state of affairs.

Hiring an auto or taxi is an express contract to take you to your destination.

When ever anyone complains about tampered meter, the standard response of the driver is to stop the vehicle and force you to take another auto-again another process of begging and bargaining to get to your destination. Because there is no easily enforceable punity for refusal to ply.

Worse they even demand the fare for the distance he drove you.

The legal position should be brought on par with the west by enforcement there is no liability to pay for an incompelte contract- taking you part way to your destination.

Authorities should highlight these rights of citizens and enforce them ruthlessly.

Sporadic drives against refusal to ply, traffic violations, meter tampering etc will not help.

They just coalesce these drivers into a more ruffian and riotous group.

The police, legal metrology and transport authorities do not take regular punitive or preemptive action

on meter tampering or traffic violations in specific cases.

What is worse, even upon tedious complaint procedure by citizens, they do not act.

Infact, if you do manage to take these auto drivers to the nearest police man or station, most often they subtly pacify you into yielding to the drivers demand rather than uphold law and citizens rights.

You can see this kind of scratch my back I scratch yours arrangement, in front of major tourist points, malls and theatre complexes.

They allow these goondas to form unions who just create law and order problems by organizing these autodrivers into a cohesive goonda power.

The authorities should demand a strict enforceable code of conduct and behaviour from these unions and its members before they recognize these unions.

Failure to follow existing rules and conditions of civilized behaviour should mean automatic cancellation of the driver's and autorickshaw commercial license.

This is particularly essential for meter tampering, refusal to ply,excess fare and rude behaviour.

Three chances(if indeed necessary) can be given before enforcement.

We the citizens and the government should remember that these goondas if we dont control them, will become Bengaluru brand ambassadors if they already are not.

It is time we took strict action to repair the damage to the city's image and the citizens daily lives by these auto rajas.


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