Tuesday, August 10, 2010


There is a movement going around Bangalore to boycott autorickshaws on August 12th. Serves them right, if you ask me. I, for one, hate autorickshaws for two reasons: the exorbitant rates they charge and for not agreeing to ply to the required destination. For these two reasons, I prefer to walk even up to 3 km distance instead of begging autorickshaw-wallahs. It is but very rare that you find a rickshaw driver who will agree to the place you want to go to and also turn the untampered meter on. Majority ply only for fixed exorbitant prices.

I have a number and an email id that I got as a forward (in appendix of this post) which commuters can use in case rickshaw drivers refuse to ply to the given destination but I have not yet tried it myself. Even so, I doubt if any action will be taken against the autorickshaw drivers.

There was this one incident where I had to go to Majestic and I had to go in an auto because of many reasons that I won’t bother writing here. I ended up asking 8 auto-wallahs!! The first one said yes but after I boarded, he quoted an amount which was way more than the meter amount. The next two simply said no. The fourth one quoted higher than what the first guy had quoted! Three more said no and drove away, while I hung there like a beggar. Finally, like Almighty, arrived an auto guy who said yes, did not quote any price and just turned the meter on. Experience has taught me that auto wallahs trick their meters to run faster than they are supposed to, so I suspected this guy of the same. But finally when I reached the destination, the amount was reasonable and around the range that I had expected it to be. Out of gratitude, and for being honest, I gave him extra money as tips. The fare plus the extra money actually came out to be the exact same amount which the first auto guy had originally asked but I didn’t mind. If the first guy too had just charged me the meter fare, I would have tipped him off the same amount he had in his mind originally! The money was never the constraint in the first place, it was always the customer service and honesty and integrity towards one’s duty.

I am not ashamed to say that I myself have had several thoughts to drive an auto whenever I am free, like on weekends. I feel driving an autorickshaw is like a humanitarian’s job. Its like a service to humanity – you are helping people go from one place to another, and you are earning at the same time! What more job satisfaction can one get!

PS: I do not know the intricacies of profit margin and the mileage of autorickshaws and the politics that lies in each jurisdiction of the city amongst auto-wallahs (like in Mumbai). Perhaps these factors (and maybe more) cause difficultly for the auto-wallahs to make their ends meet in the growing inflation and hence make them what they are.

Appendix: Note the vehicle number (KA-XX-YY-ZZZZ) and email the details to transcom@kar.nic.in. Based on the prefix XX (for example KA-01), complaint will be sent to one of the ten RTO offices in Bangalore and
adjacent taluk areas. Alternatively, one can also call these offices at the number given below based on the vehicle number prefix and directly lodge a complaint.

Vehicle Prefix (KA-XX) Bangalore location Phone number

* KA-01 Koramangala 080-25533525
* KA-02 Rajajinagar 080-23324104
* KA-03 Indiranagar 080-25254310
* KA-04 Yeshwantpur 080-23376039
* KA-05 Jayanagar 080-26630989
* KA-41 Gyanabharthi 080-28602833
* KA-50 Yelahanka 080-28561366
* KA-51 Electronic City 080-25735522
* KA-52 NeelaMangala 08234-285598
* KA-53 KR Puram 080-25617951

Once the complaint is received at the corresponding office, a notice is issued to the address of the vehicle's registered owner, requiring him/her to turn up at the RTO office within 7 working days. Every RTO has about 10 IMV's (Inspector of Motor Vehicles) who seize the vehicles which don't report to the RTO. The penalty levied from the auto-waalas is rs.100 under section 200.

The various offences among others for which one can lodge a complaint

* Refusal to come to destination (Any destination!!!)
* Demanding excess fare
* Using rough language
* Cheat the public, for e.g. taking longer routes.
* Faulty Meter

There is also a helpline number - 080-22353785 available Monday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm on which one can call to lodge complaints. Koramangala RTO office received only 5 complaints a month.

What's wrong with the system?

* Lack of Awareness among the Bangalore citizens
* The system is inefficient in data gathering- emails or phone calls cannot be stored and processed properly, leading to ineffective use of these complaint data.
* Converting these complaints into notices issued to vehicle owners is still a manual process
* Limited government officials to handle

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