Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fare-list-a half-hearted initiative'

Three-wheelers’ travel still a cumbersome affairs for commuters

Amin Masoodi

SRINAGAR SEP 18: Introduced to regulate fares of three wheelers, the fare-list issued by traffic police department for three-wheelers in Srinagar City has not addressed but ironically compounded the problems of commuters.

Commuters’ at large complain that most of auto-rickshaw drivers’ either don’t accept the fare list or waste their time by indulging in bargaining over fares. And if at all, they accept the fares fixed by the department, the deal materializes only after a heated argument. Many other commuters’ complained that the drivers of three-wheelers have not displayed the fare list and feign ignorance about it only to over-charge them.

“I have to pay Rs 40 from Jawahar Nagar matador stand to Rambagh. I insisted for fare list but the driver maintained that no fare list has been issued to him. Few other auto drivers’ present at the stand also maintained that Rs 40 was fixed fare for Rambagh,” said Jasbeer Kour, who boarded an auto-rickshaw bearing registration number JK01G-7313 from Jawahar Nagar matador stand.

Driver of three-wheeler bearing registration No- JK01N 3351 –feigned ignorance about the fare- list. “I don’t know anything about the fare-list. Even no driver in Haft-Chinar stand knows about the fare-list. I came to know about it (fare-list) through you,” he said adding that the traffic department should send the fare-list to all the auto-stands.

Many other commuters told that the drivers were exploiting them on occasions of strikes, rains and in emergency situations. Ridiculing the traffic department initiative of fare- list, they opined that only meter installation in three-wheelers could bring uniformity in fares and put a check on menace of over-charging.

“The initiative is a half-hearted measure by the department as it cannot help check over-charging. The initiative has failed to provide any respite to the commuters, who are at the receiving end. The meter installation is the only way to regulate fares as is seen in other states,” opined, Mohammad Sultan of Haft Chinar.

In view of a growing complaints about over-charging by three wheelers and demands for installation of meters to regulate fares, the traffic police department issued fare lists for different routes in the city claiming that this will keep the travel charges under control.

The department had also provided helpline numbers including 2450022, 2455164 and 2455179 for filing complaints about non-compliance of fare list by auto-rickshaw drivers. SSP Traffic Srinagar, Maqsood-u- Zaman told that the fare list has been issued to regulate the fares and commuters should make complaints, if any driver was found violating the fare list.

“In case any driver violates the fare list, commuters should make a compliant on given telephone numbers or approach a traffic cop and action will be taken against erring driver,” SSP said. When asked that many drivers’ feign ignorance about fare list and many others were yet to receive it, the officer said that it was not possible for the department to provide fare list to each driver but the department will try to distribute fare list in each auto stand across the city in few days. “In addition, hoardings would also be put up at prominent public and commercial places to make people and drivers aware of fare list,” he added.

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