Autorickshaw operators facing tough competition from taxi aggregators have mooted a proposal of `share-a-rickshaw’ in the city.
Autorickshaw unions have claimed that plying autorickshaws on seat-sharing basis will help commuters in two ways -they will have to pay lesser fare and fixed fares will bring down instances of fleecing and harassment.
There are more than 45,000 registered autorickshaws in the city . Operators are expected to strictly charge as per meter, but cases of fleecing, overcharging and refusing to ply are rampant.
“Autorickshaw union leaders recently held a meeting with officials of the regional transport office in this regard. They are now expecting RTO’s response to the proposal. We are hoping to deal with complaints of overcharging and refusal to ply ,“ said Baba Shinde, former member of Regional Transport Authority .
“We have received a proposal from autorickshaw unions pertaining to share-arickshaw scheme. Our officials are studying the same.The details will be revealed soon. If required, we will again call meetings with the unions to ensure that the system has no flaws,“ an RTO official said.
The unions have urged the RTO to introduce the service between designated places on five busy routes initially. The se include, Swargate to Shivajinagar, Swargate to Sinhagad Road, Swargate to Katraj, Deccan Gymkhana to Paud Road and Deccan Gymkhana to Kothrud. The RTO is expected to study the routes and distances before fixing the fares. Autorickshaw unions have said that the service could be extended to more routes in a phased manner depending on the response. Sources in the autorickshaw unions said they need to adopt new system if they have to sustain in the market which has become highly competitive because of the cab aggregators.
“A number of commuters have switched over to taxis posing a challenge to us,“ they said.
“There is no point in denying service when we are already losing the commuter base. Rickshaw operators will have to adopt different ways to ensure better income in the changing scenario. Share rickshaws could be one such initiative,“ said Vijay Paigude, an autorickshaw operator from Shivajinagar.
Autorickshaw unions were expecting a response from RTO in the next few days. Sources said the RTA has already sanctioned the plan. The RTO has to fix fares and make infrastructural provisions for pick-up and drop points, they said.
However, some citizens raised concerns over travelling with strangers since the city has experienced a spate of robberies in which lift gangs targeted passengers.
Source : TOI