Long arm of the law catches up

But commuters complain crackdown has not changed the ways of auto drivers

Written by Megha Sood | Mumbai | Published: July 17, 2013 4:48 am

Traffic police have intensified the crackdown on auto and taxi drivers making excuses such as “change of duty” and “long queues at gas stations” to not ply short distances.

Till June 30 this year,they had penalised 1,972 drivers. In 2012,6,772 drivers were penalised and 22,021 in 2011.

The crackdown began in August 2010 after traffic police received complaints from several commuters. The complaints have increased with rain.

Refusal to ply can attract a fine of up to Rs 200 and suspension of licence. Commuters can lodge complaints on the traffic police website or their Facebook page.

Once a complaint is lodged,traffic police note the number of the vehicle and when the driver arrives at the traffic police headquarters to renew his licence,he is penalised.

“We penalise more than 100 drivers every day. We are also educating drivers not to refuse short-distance fares,” said a traffic police officer.

Commuters,however,claimed the problem persists.

“I never reach home without an argument with an auto driver. I have to force auto drivers to ply,” said Ankit Jaiswal of Andheri (west),who travels from the sports complex on JP Road to railway station during peak hours.

Traffic police said it would take time to change the mindset of drivers.

“Commuters should lodge complaints,we will take action against errant drivers,” said Vivek Phansalkar,joint commissioner of police (traffic).

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