Pune RTO To Launch WhatsApp Helpline For Auto-Rickshaw Passengers From June 1

Pune RTO To Launch WhatsApp Helpline For Auto-Rickshaw Passengers From June 1

There are around 1 lakh registered auto-rickshaws in Pune city

Ankit ShuklaUpdated: Thursday, May 16, 2024, 02:33 PM IST
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Pune RTO To Launch WhatsApp Helpline For Auto-Rickshaw Passengers From June 1 | File Photo

Commuters in Pune have repeatedly complained of issues like fleecing, trip refusals, misbehaviour, overcharging, and more at the hands of auto-rickshaw drivers. To address the grievances of the commuters, the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has decided to launch a WhatsApp helpline from June 1.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal, RTO officer Sanjiv Bhor said, "As per the public demand and the number of complaints, we have decided to launch a WhatsApp mobile number where commuters can easily complain about their inconvenience and misbehaviour of auto-rickshaw drivers." "We are in the process of finalising the number on which people can complain. This will be launched on June 1," he added.

Bhor said there are around 1 lakh registered auto-rickshaws in Pune city. "The WhatsApp helpline will make it easy to attend to the complaints of commuters. They can simply send a photo of the auto-rickshaw with its number plate, and our team will accordingly send them notices for inquiry," he further explained.

Regarding the Ola and Uber license permits, the RTO officer informed that the State Transport Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has rescheduled the hearing to June 18. The hearing was initially scheduled to be held on April 22 to decide whether Ola and Uber are permitted to operate in Pune. However, due to Uber’s delay in appealing to the SAT, the hearing has been postponed to June. The SAT has asked the RTO to provide its input in the case of Uber. In Ola’s case, the RTO had already submitted its stance on April 20.

In January, the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) had announced a revised fare for taxis following protests by driver unions and gig workers. These regulations set a base fare of ₹37 for the first 1.5 km, followed by ₹25 per subsequent km in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Baramati. However, Ola and Uber are yet to implement it.

Later in March, a meeting had been chaired by District Collector Suhas Diwase in the presence of other transport officials. After this, the RTO issued an official letter rejecting the license applications of ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd (parent company of Ola) and Uber India Systems Pvt Ltd. The firms were given a 30-day window to apply to a higher authority after which they approached the SAT.

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