Mumbai: In an attempt to discipline autorickshaw drivers for turning down fares, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) Mumbai West (Andheri), revealed that in 2019, it had revoked the licences of 348 auto-rickshaw drivers, specifically for refusing rides to customers.
Coincidentally, the data shows that the number of registered complaints was also 348, thereby resulting in 100 per cent effective service by the RTO’s prosecution department.
The jurisdiction of Andheri RTO begins from Bandra and ends at Jogeshwari in the western suburbs and in this stretch, autorickshaw drivers are notorious for saying no to people.
Speaking to The Free Press Journal, RTO chief Abhay Deshpande said the RTO drive had led to a significant fall in the number of refusals in western suburbs.
“Autorickshaws are a necessity for commuting in the suburbs. At the same time, Mumbaikars must also deal with the problem of auto drivers refusing to take them to their destination. To counter this, we have been conducting frequent drives and also acting on the registered complaints received from the public,” said Deshpande.
The RTO has been conducting such drives in two phases, one in which it acts on the basis of commuter complaints and the other involves RTO personnel conducting drives in the city.
Deshpande informed, apart from autorickshaw drivers refusing the commuters, the RTO also acts against drivers who are rude to commuters, those plying a rickshaw without uniforms and those not possessing valid documents.
“In suburban Mumbai, there are several corridors where many autorickshaws operate without permits. We also reach out to the commuters to inform they also need to be proactive and lodge a complaint whenever they encounter a problem,” said Deshpande.
The data also revealed, as many as 7,000 drivers have been booked for various charges that include - ferrying more than three customers, overcharging customers and failing to wear badges and carry their licences on duty. Of the 7,000 drivers, action has already been taken against 1,500 drivers, while the remaining have been served notices.