Harassed by auto drivers? Now you can do something.

 

Auto Rickshaws in the city have once again come into the limelight with the recent Auto Raid that was conducted by the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP). On June 30th, over 700 members of the BTP, dressed in plainclothes, embarked on an operation to track down auto drivers who were not doing their due diligence to society. At the end of the 15-hour long sting operation, around 3,350 auto drivers were fined, and 450 autos were seized.The Auto Raid also threw up a shocking statistic – four in every ten auto drivers in the city were errant!

Rules for auto drivers  

Under Rule 13 (U) and Rule 16 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act read with Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, there are a number of rules that auto drivers need to follow. Here are some of the rules. 

  • The driver shall behave in a civil and orderly manner with passengers, intending passengers, consignors and consignees of goods
  • The driver shall not demand or extract any fare or freight in excess of that which he is legally entitled to
  • The driver shall proceed to the destination named by the hirer by the shortest and quickest route
  • The driver shall not terminate any hiring after it has been engaged and before discharged by the hirer
  • The driver shall not demand or extract any fare in excess of that which is legally due
  • The driver shall not drive the vehicle or allow it to be engaged for hire, unless he is satisfied that the fare-meter is in good working order
  • The driver shall not tamper with or allow any other person to tamper with the seal or the working mechanism of the fare-meter
  • The driver shall not without reasonable cause refuse to let the cab for hire when the flag is in a vertical position 

The entire list of rules can be found as under: 

The fine for violation of the rules listed under Rule 13(U) is Rs 100 for the first offense and Rs 300 for the second and any subsequent offences. The fine for a defective fare meter is Rs 100. The list of spot fines applicable can be found here

Oneandhaff, a popular term in Bangalore auto rickshaw parlance. Pic: iyermatter.wordpress.com

Common complaints

For those citizens using auto rickshaws for regular commute in the city, negotiating with auto drivers is no small feat. Especially if one is staying in an area that does not see too much traffic or is remote, haggling about fares, or flagging down a number of autos, before getting one that agrees to go, is a common occurrence.  This is  not to say there are no sincere auto drivers or that most of them harass passengers. If stats thrown up by the BTP sting operation are to go by, 60% of the auto drivers are indeed doing their duty properly.

However, it is inevitable that one comes across at least one auto driver in the course of the day, who ticks one off just a bit.  The common complaints against auto drivers include the following: 

  • Refusal to come for hire
  • Meter tampering
  • Demanding excess fare
  • Taking a long route
  • Rash driving

And in several instances, even verbal or physical abuse. 

So what can one do when faced with nasty auto drivers or is subject to their mercy? 

Multiple mediums for making complaints

The Bangalore Traffic Police has instituted a number of methods in which complaints can be made against errant auto drivers who overcharge or refuse hire.

24 x 7 Helpline: The numbers than can be called are 080-22868444 and 080-22868550. Do note down the vehicle registration number, so that a complaint can be registered.

SMSAlternately, an SMS can be sent in the following formats, to 52225 for Airtel customers and to 9663952225 for non-Airtel customers. 

  • For refusing hire: AUTO<space>REF<space>Registration number<space>Location(from and to)<space>Time. Eg: AUTO REF KA01XY1234 Koramangala to Ulsoor 4:30pm
  • For overcharging: AUTO<space>OVC<space>Registration number<space>Location(from and to)<space>Time. Eg: AUTO OVC KA01XY1234 Koramangala to Ulsoor 4:30pm 

Email: Yet another means of filing the complaint is to send a mail to tmcbtp@gmail.com with reason for complaint, auto registration number, location details and date and time.

Website: One can also file a complaint directly on the complaints page on the BTP website. Ensure that you share reason for complaint, auto registration number, location details and date and time. 

BTP App: Install the BTP App on your smart phone and register a complaint through the app. 

Gowtham T, a police constable with the BTP, who picked up the phone when we tried the helpline says, “Passengers will have to note down the vehicle registration number, else we will not be able to file a complaint. As of now, we are tracking down complaints regarding  refusal to hire and overcharging only.”

What happens once the complaint is made?

Pic: bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in

Once the Traffic Management Center receives the complaint, the complaint is registered and BTP can access it on their Blackberries. Gowtham clarifies, “Once we receive a complaint, we register it. A notice is generated and sent to the owner of the auto rickshaw, who is fined Rs 100. The subsequent time the auto driver is pulled up or looks up the fines against his vehicle, he will know that he has been fined for committing an offense.” He adds,  “Once we have registered a complaint, we call the person who has made the complaint and inform them of the same as well.”

While it certainly make sense for passengers to note down the drivers name and driving license number, Gowtham T did mention that BTP would not be able to register the complaint, unless the vehicle registration number had been noted down.  So do ensure that you share all the details requested – nature of complaint (refusal/overcharging), vehicle registration number, location and time – to ensure that your complaint is registered.

Better be safe than sorry

While we do hope that citizens of Bangalore are not inconvenienced trying to commute by auto, there are a number of precautions one can take to be better safe, than sorry.

  • Take an auto with the new meter.
  • Check if the auto driver seems polite at first sight. Avoid getting into autos which seem run-down.
  • Ensure that you are going as per meter before you begin your journey. One and a half times the fare is standard only for journeys between 10 pm and 5 am.
  • Have a fair idea of the route you want to go through, before boarding the auto, to avoid arguments later.
  • Sometimes, drivers could be unfamiliar with the area that you want to go to, so ensure the driver knows the route, before boarding the auto.
  • Make a note of the registration number prior to getting into the rickshaw.
  • Check for the driver details displayed behind the driver. Those who don’t display it might have some reason to do so.
  • Once you get into the rickshaw, make a note of the driver’s name and his driving license details. You could share it with a friend or family member over sms or WhatsApp.
  • If you are travelling alone or late in the night, you could call a friend or family member and stay on call for the entire duration of your journey.
  • In case you are harassed and would like to hash it out with the driver, ensure that you do so in a public place that has other people nearby.
  • Avoid arguing near the auto stand – generally the experience is that auto drivers find strength in numbers.

Things are looking up for Namma Bengaluru

In 2011, the fourth IBM Commuter Pain Index Study, declared Bangalore as the sixth worst city in the world to commute in. Three years since, it still is a pain to commute in the city. However, it must be acknowledged that BTP has played a key role in reducing this burden. Whether it is through their road safety workshops or by embracing technology and rewarding drivers through its Sugama Savari campaign, it is constantly on the look-out for new  ways to improve the current traffic-related issues. Their new complaint system should hopefully help in curbing the auto menace that plagues the city.

It is also important to note that for every story of harassment by an auto driver, there is one about a sincere driver who returns bags left in his auto. Only a few days back, Bangalore Mirror had a story about an auto driver who drafted a driver discipline chart with ten commandments that would be followed. There are also several organisations such as Peace Auto and mGaadi, who are working with auto drivers who vow to go as per meter fare only.

With all these measures in place, the city is certain to see some much-needed improvement in the auto-travel segment.

About Ganga Madappa 77 Articles
Ganga Madappa is a Staff Reporter and the Community Manager at Citizen Matters. She loves cats and books and travel. She tweets at @pulicatmonster and blogs at Random Rambling.

8 Comments

  1. On June 17,Today I took a auto from Majestic Bustand to New BEL road . I don’t know what that guy thought and he said 300 rs …Later when he actually came to knw the real location then he asked for 500rs and when I said him I will not go then he told me to pay 25 rs I was not having the change and when I gave him 500 rs note .He just gave me 300 rs back and said this is the actual fare..He said Auto Se start ar bus mei jaa after that he started abusing me …..The auto no is KA015231.Plz take strict action against those type of guys

    • Please send the mail bangalore city police, Im also a victim of shit eating bangalore auto driver dogs, though Im using uber or ola now, even knowing theese recently one of the dog cheated me just for travel anext street force me 100rs.. and earlier in nigth with family charged 600rs for 80rs ride as night time which double amount ie in day time it will come for 40rs… COMPOL Bengaluru City compolbcp@ksp.gov.in
      Addl CP Traffic BCP BCP ,
      Traffic management Center Bengaluru city

  2. Today i took an auto from KG Road near Mysore Bank to go to Jayanagar 4th block. He took me via NPT Road. Till then his meter was ok. Before i reached Lalbag west gate i noticed his meter jumped to Rs 90/ – When i asked him, he said the distance is more. But i travel by auto daily upto Jayanagar 4th bolck from Mysore Bank bus stop and the fare is b/w Rs 90/- and Rs 100/- When i asked him, he started shouting and threatened to drop me half way. By the time i reached Jayanagar the meter was showing 10 km and fare Rs 130/- Though i knew i wass duped, i could not do anything but pay the fare and get down quietly helplessly. The auto driver name is Mastgowda, vehicle no. KA 8131. i request the tarffic polce to fine such drivers who tamper their meters and cheat poor passengers. Kindly take action against the said driver and blacklist the driver of KA 8131

    Thanks & reqgqrdsa

    Akila

  3. The best action you can take is to hire Uber taxi. Download Uber apps on your Cell phone and order Uber cab. Uber cab is usually much cheaper than an Auto (Rs. 8 per km). Uber cab driver being the owner and paid incentive for each trip, behaves professionally. Cars are air conditioned and clean. The only way auto drivers will learn a lesson is when we boycott their services and spread the alternatives available to our friend circle.

  4. Hi it’s a complaint against ka_02_6790
    A rikshawaala near NS PALYA infornt of Bala ji temple gate near Homeneeds btm layout 2nd stage was talking with 3 to 4 guys ,actually they want to move to Yeahwantpur n driver was compelling them 1.5 of total meter charge.Guys refused him n started moving off.I Was just watching there conversation while on a call at my phone. I immediately asked them to move 200 meter forward n can have multiple options because there is a square near choudeswari wine shop .The driver stared at me n said y u r misguiding my customers. He came off to me with an anger n very agiled attitude. He started uttering bad word to me n when I said I will call Police that asshole came out of his vehicle n tried to make an issue that North Indian should not interrupt south Indian’s. Incident timing was morning 9 a.m.I want to know if I just helped those guys then y?? that illiterate, Rascal ,asshole started miss behaving me .I know none actions would take place But just to inform every one here at bangalore at india n at world I will still do the same If I would see.N I want everyone to read this n kick dat Ass 6790 where ever you see.
    Thanks Shrestha

  5. Hi ,
    I would like to complain against auto driver whoes auto number was:KA02 2659.Today (10/7/2010)morning I reserved auto from marathalli multiplex to Murgespalya before Total mall in 120 rs.I was with my younger brother,I reserved auto for my brother and told to auto driver to follow me Since he was not aware about the location and I was driving Scooty.he dropeed my brother,but when I have given him 500 rs,He started behave roughly,and told that he doesn’t have
    change,then some how I manged with coins,and have given coins of 19 rs,then he become aggressive and started abusing us,supposed to hit my brother and me,just becouse he don’t want to return change,I have seen number of complains on sites without any reply,its really shamefull for the goverment that they are not taking action against misbehaviour and drunk Auto driver.
    Kindly consider this issue and do some need full.

    Thanks,
    Khushboo

  6. Hi,

    I wonder if anyone had success in reaching/complaining to the police through these helplines. I complained to the BTP through their website twice in the last 2 months, but it always showed an error message “ORA-01756: quoted string not properly terminated”, though I didn’t use any quoted strings in the complaint.
    Though the 2 phone numbers are supposed to be IVRS, it never gets connected nor picked up.
    I also sent a complaint by email to tmcbtp@gmail.com with all the details. I don’t receive any acknowledgement nor confirmation for the complaint lodged.
    The last complaint I filed was about a tampered meter and excessive charging by an auto (KA 03 A 4603) which showed 19.3 KMs instead of normal 13.3 KMs, and against the displayed charge of Rs 253, he took Rs 450. (It was 5:30 AM, and 1.5X the meter). When I argued, he even challenged me to complain to the police.
    I don’t think I will ever get across to complain this to the police, despite all the helpline facilities.

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