Facility at Secunderabad Railway Station aimed at ending harassment by auto drivers
In a move that could end the harassment by auto drivers who refuse to ply or demand exorbitant fares, authorities launched the prepaid auto facility at Secunderabad Railway Station on Thursday. The booths were inaugurated by Transport Minister Botcha Satyanarayana.
The facility, which aims to remove the problem of bargaining with auto drivers, took more than a year to fructify.
Authorities set up three booths at the Bhoiguda entrance and another three at the main entrance. More than 1.5 lakh passengers arrive at the Secunderabad railway station every day.
While passengers are a happy lot with this facility, the auto drivers are not complaining either.
The minimum tariff for the prepaid autos, for a distance up to 3 km is Rs. 30 during the day time and Rs. 40 during night. An auto driver will get less than this amount if he charges as per the metre.
But will the higher rates put off the prospective customers?
It will be better to pay these hiked rates up front than to wait for an auto that will charge correct rate, a member of MMTS Travellers group, Vrijilesh Rai said. “Auto drivers charge Rs. 150 to go to Begumpet. It’s better for me to go with a prepaid auto which works out to be cheaper, and I do not have to bargain either. Passengers would definitely prefer this facility,” Dr. Rai said.
Other passengers seem to share his view.
“I would prefer to hire a prepaid auto as it removes the problem of haggling. The prospect of having to bargain with an auto driver just after a long journey is quite uninviting. I am happy that this facility came up finally,” another passenger from Masab Tank, K. Rajini said.
While some auto drivers expressed their concerns about the rising prices, Transport Minister allayed their fears saying that a mechanism will be put in place soon to automatically correct the prepaid auto fare according to the market conditions. Mr. Satyanarayana also said that the prepaid auto system is safer for a passenger. “As a passenger can easily track the auto by tracing the prepaid ticket, the possibility of misbehaviour by auto driver will be removed. It is both secure and convenient for a passenger,” he said.
GHMC Mayor Banda Karthika Reddy, Hyderabad Police Commissioner, A.K. Khan, Addl. CP (Traffic) C.V. Anand and others were present at the inauguration.Hindu