Government’s drive on metered autos: citizens and drivers express concern

July 10, 2009, Jaipur

Majority (72%) of Jaipurites believe that the government machinery is inefficient and the manner in which they take decisions lead to situations like auto strike. Hasty decisions like these push people to all odds and sufferings, which happened in the city of July 9, morning as a result of the Auto-rickshaw strike. However 87% of the total auto drivers surveyed informed that it is more feasible for them to charge passengers via meter but the frequent enforcement drive run by government has been considered ineffective by 96% of the city’s auto drivers.

These findings came out through a quick response survey carried out by the CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) on 9th and 10th of July, to analyse the view of auto drivers towards inefficient administration and simultaneously comprehending the degree of inconvenience faced by common men due to auto strike and assessing the response of people towards Government’s decision regarding enforcement of metered autos.

Majority of the people (72%) of Jaipur pointed out their fingers towards the inefficient government machinery and the manner in which they take decisions that led to the auto strike and pushed the people to all odds and sufferings, which happened in the city of July 9, morning as a result of the Auto-rickshaw strike. 57% of Jaipurites feel that the auto drivers in Jaipur are not tourist friendly, in the midst of pink city being the hot-spot in the tourist map of the world.

Many missed their classes, many others their interview, some reached to their meetings late and many others traveled long distances on foot yet all have accepted the fact that it is the government machinery which just takes decisions without even thinking on the ill effects of any such decisions.

Jaipurites felt that should the concerned authorities have analysed the situation earlier nothing like this strike and so much inconvenience could have experienced by a common Jaipurites on July 9th. People also questioned, the practicability of checking and setting 14,000 auto meters in just few weeks time when the concerned department itself is having the capacity to check and seal only 20 meters per day?

The people surveyed said that they have seen the non-working meters in the autos which are just being hanged as mere formality, out of this 64% reported that on asking for meter generated payment amount either the behaviour of drivers suddenly becomes arrogant or simply ends up making mockery thus most of the time allowing a passenger to indulge in the act of bargaining.

Where 93% of the people surveyed are aware about the serious slackness on the part of Transport Department and later the Traffic Police when it comes to compliance of meters, another 07 % whole heartedly accepted that it is a common man which feels convenient enough travelling within the city, manually calculating the fare from one place to another avoiding the meters.

Although there are some major discrepancies noted on the part of auto drivers like 50 % of women feel unsafe while travelling in autos, another 73 % complaint about high fare charged in odd times especially during bad weather, night time & for sure during situational crisis like bus strikes etc.

While 76% agree that there is compliance with regard to the direction regarding dress code, but a shocking 78% of Jaipurites feel that the careless driving by auto drivers contributes heavily towards frequently occurring accidents across the city. Worst is found the situation of awareness levels towards making a complaint against any auto driver as 59 % accepted that they don’t even know that complaint can be lodged against unfair charges or misbehaviour of auto driver, which at least needs to be tackled at a fast pace by concerned departments through massive advertisement campaigns, as non-reporting of such incidents may effect the influx of tourists in long run affecting the lucrative profits made by us round the year.

Simultaneously in another random survey conducted a day after the auto strike the views of auto drivers were analysed. When it comes to issuance of driving licence, vehicle fitness certificate or auto permits 100% of the auto drivers rely on the mediators who charge some extra amounts and ease the entire process, greatly reducing the service delivery time. This can be interpreted as the mutual understanding between middlemen/agents and concerned officials who compel to avail indirect but decent services at a cost of some extra amount rather than running from post to pillar at concerned offices.

92% auto drivers reported that in lieu of providing services at odd times especially at night they are allowed to charge 25% more than the day fares but there are been reported cases on frequent basis that heavy amounts are charged by the auto drivers at night time. In another major revelation 98% respondents also accepted to have obtained license from agents/middlemen.

46% auto drivers confirmed charging extra amount from tourists justifying that they have to cater to insignificant demands of bureaucrats in order to obtain permits for their own autos. 88% respondents criticized government’s usual practise of delays in issuing auto permits to them. The survey findings reveal that the problem has much deeper roots than it appears and need focus and instant attention from government.

For more information, please contact:
Varsha Rathore
Assistant Project Coordinator
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, INDIA
Ph: 91.141.513 3259/2282 823/2282 482, [Ext.:308],
Fax: 91.141.401 5395, Cell: 9462085353