Friday, February 27, 2009

Ever erring Autos in Hyderabad

Ever erring autos in Hyderabad

Auto rickshaw drivers are a law unto themselves in the tri cities of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Cyberabad. There are innumerable ways in which they misbehave and inconvenienced passengers stand mute spectators..

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AUTO RICKSHAW drivers are a law unto themselves in the tri cities of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Cyberabad. There are innumerable ways in which they misbehave and inconvenience passengers stand mute spectators. Some problems associated with them are:

  • They refuse to ply short distances
  • They operate with faulty meters
  • They misbehave and are rude to passengers for no reason at all.

  • They demand exorbitant fare unmindful of distance, time or locality.
Citizens are forced to depend upon autos for various reasons. It is cheaper than taxi. Travel by bus involves a lot of inconvenience like: Having to walk long distances from and to bus stops; overcrowded buses; long waits for buses to arrive; non-availability of direct buses forcing one to hop from one route to another. Buses are also not useful for senior citizens, sick people and others who need to reach a railway station or district bus stands with lot of luggage.

The city traffic police personnel are not of much use. At times when I am frustrated in getting an auto, say from Paradise Circle to Lakshmi Nagar in Secunderabad (about 2.5 km). I just force myself upon a traffic constable and request him (pleading that I am a pitiable senior citizen) to fetch/stop an auto for me. Usually he finds an auto for me within ten minutes! How about other places where there is no one to help you? There is a local Traffic Police Helpline (1073) that is not popular. RTA Helpline 1074 is somewhat used by public.

I have a few suggestions to correct the situation. Traffic Police must be taught/trained to be very strict with auto drivers. This is possible. Only the will to correct the situation is required. I always sympathise with traffic police who have to manage traffic while suffering pollution, noise, erratic traffic, heat and dust. Their salaries must be increased to reasonably good levels so that some dignity could be associated with their work. This might deter them from succumbing to petty bribes which in turn makes them lax and inefficient. The department may enlist paid part time volunteers at crowded corners, empowering such volunteers to take disciplinary action – fines, seizure of vehicles, license etc. The AP Police website enumerates some 15 types of complaints and whom to contact for each complaint. No, auto rickshaw complaints are not listed! This website is otherwise highly useful to the common man and I strongly recommend all Hyderabadis to visit the same.

The government may license seven seater autos in city area also. Currently, they are allowed only in outskirts of the city. In Chennai, they are allowed in city areas as well. Hyderabad should copy Chennai. These are very affordable and ply between important points in city. As there is good competition, the operators are courteous and obliging. Unless severe competition is brought up auto drivers will remain unchanged. Presently, the local train services are not used only because the stations are not at a reachable distance by bus service. Seven seater autos can try to operate from all important Metro Railway stations.

Sometimes when autos do not get passengers and have to wait for long hours in expectation to fill all seats. So they waste the time of other passengers who were sitting inside the auto. Instead of criticising them, we should think of helping these drivers too instead of just blaming all the time.

I have a suggestion to improve this situation. In every locality there could be some places where autos congregate though such places are not strictly auto stands. Nearby such auto stands there could be a Pan Shop or something similar. The Pan Shop owner can do a service to auto drivers and residents of nearby colonies acting as a bridge. All that he needs to do is to announce that, the moment he gets a request from a customer on his cell phone he will alert some auto fellow or the other. He will give the name and house number of the customer to the auto. The auto driver could reach the customer and pick him up. A small additional fee for this service can be shared between the Pan shop owner and the auto driver. A simple message announcing his mobile number for this service is all that is required.

Do you know of any Indian city where auto drivers are reasonable and if yes, how is it that such city folks are so blessed?


Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015
Ph 27846631 /  9490804278

I blog at:

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