It was a hectic day, and walking out of Leela on old air-port road with my husband, discussing the interview I had just then finished for an upcoming BPO in Bangalore only made me feel exhausted and wanting to go home and hit the sack.
The traffic at 7:30 PM and the blinding vehicle headlights made it difficult for us to walk, cross the road an wait for an auto. any people were already standing here and there, competing with each other to hail an auto. One empty auto came our way, making all of us rush towards him, only to take NO for an answer. It was just 8 PM, and not one auto fellow agreed to come to Basavangudi. I was irritated- we had been waiting for half an hour already.
People requested auto drivers to take them to BTM, Kormangala, Banshankari, Rajajinagar…but in vain. The common reply from all the auto driver’s were (a) illa barolla (No, am not coming) (b) One and Half kodtheera (pay me one and a half times the fare). I kept stopping my husband from getting into a fight with any of the rickshaw fellows, since I was not ready for conflrontation after a tiresome day or go to the police station.
We finally boarded a Volvo bus to Corporation circle, hoping to take an auto easily from there – wishful thinking! The same scene greeted us there. I could see a senior citizen arguing with an auto as to why he was asking for one and half fare to Banashankari at that hour, and a lady with three children doing then same. As expected none agreed for Basvangudi too, either asking for more (or) because they did not want to go there. They have no ptroblems coming to the police station either.
It was 9 PM and we were still on the streets, just waiting for one auto. I saw a young couple taking one of the auto’s, readily agreeing to pay the price he asked for, to get dropped in Jayanagar ( How could they????)
What is the purpose of having auto’s in the city, where most of them do not want to go, where you want to? Where is the LAW of charging 1 1/2 times, at the peak hour (before 10 PM)? And they display no shame or hesitation to come to the Police station…uff. Who will set right the attitude of these fellows-who do not even care for senior citizens or ladies desperate to reach home at that hour? And Bangalore was once called pensioner’s PARADISE! Huh!
Finally, an auto wallah who had to pass by Gandhi Bazar agreed to take us and drop in the Main road. we asked the senior citizen to accompany us and went via banshakri to drop him there. Not sure about the lady with kids- did she pay more and go home??
My friend and colleugue Syed was new to Bangalore, when he was taken to every small nook and corner on MG road, Brigade road and commercial street before he was deposited in Shivaginagar, paying twice the actual cost.He later realised that he was just another ‘bakra’ to have been taken on a ‘Bangalore Darshana’ by the infamous city auto drivers.
55 year old Ramesh drives a Maruti van- the other day he just touched an auto while trying to avoid a cyclist in a small lane near Attiguppe. The auto driver demamded compensation for damages (while not a single scratch was to be found on the vehicle), and his mates came along from nowhere in huge numbers to drum up support for him.
(With all due respect to auto drivers of the city who do their duty and help citizens safely reach destinations …) ⊕