Pune Railway Station: Errant auto drivers give commuters a rough ride

If anyone comes out of the railway station, one has to inevitably face a large group of autorickshaw driver who try to woo the passengers, asking “kidhar jana hai? (where do you have to go?)”.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published:May 29, 2017 4:04 am
pune railway station, pune auto drivers, auto fares pune, auto drivers at pune station, pune news, indian express Most auto drivers refuse to ply by metre and fleece passengers for long-distance journeys. Express

At Pune Railway Station, which is an important entry point to the city, the passengers and commuters mostly have to depend on autorickshaws due to the paucity of any other mode of transport. But the experience is nothing short of “traumatising” as autorickshaw drivers not only behave arrogantly, but also refuse to come for short distances and fleece passengers for long-distance journeys.

If anyone comes out of the railway station, one has to inevitably face a large group of autorickshaw driver who try to woo the passengers, asking “kidhar jana hai? (where do you have to go?)”. If you try to ignore them, they will even follow you. But the real “trauma”, as many regular passengers describe it, lies ahead. If the passengers ask them to go to a place not far from the railway station, he or she gets a rude refusal. If the destination is far away, especially the suburbs of Pune, an arbitrary fare is quoted, many times even more than twice the actual fare.

Ravi Bhatambrekar, a senior citizen who regularly travels to Nagpur or Indore, says, “They behave like goons. When you get out, they charge in on you. But when we tell them to come to Sinhagad Road, they ask for Rs 400. Last time, we tried calling a cab service using an app. The cab driver refused to enter the station premises, saying the autorickshaw drivers here didn’t allow him to come in.

The scene at the back door of the Pune railway station is not different. The autorickshaw drivers behave the same, but at least cab driver come there. I can imagine the situation of those who can not use phone apps, specially the old people, those who can not afford cabs or the disabled and the ill. They must be getting fleeced. There is no other usable mode of transport from Pune station to the main parts of the city. The situation of PMPML buses is pathetic and there is no timetable to easily access the bus stand.”

The prepaid rickshaw facility, which was a partial solution to these issues, has been closed due to the ongoing construction work. Also, passengers say that when it was open, there never used to be more than 10 autorickshaws at the kiosk, a number hardly sufficient for the number of passengers who come out of the railway station every hour.

The experience of the commuters who get down at the Shivajinagar and Swargate bus stands, the other two entry points of the city, the situation is not different. A 45-year-old autorickshaw driver from Kothrud, who has been driving autos in the city for the last 18 years, said, “These autorickshaw drivers at bus stands and the railway station work in gangs. They have connections with local politicians and no one objects to them doing anything.

“The worst part is that they do not allow outside autorickshaw drivers near their queue. They hurl abuses and threaten to attack. I have seen them first refusing to ply old people or the ill by metered rates and then extorting money from them after they are left with no choice. I am not saying all drivers at these locations are like this, but this seems to be everyone’s experience.”

Mahadev Bote, an autorickshaw driver at the Pune station, however, refused all these allegations, saying, “It is not true. None of us behave rudely with passengers. It may happen once in a while because the passengers are rude and refuse to pay even Rs 20 extra. We never stop outside autorickshaws or cab drivers from entering the premises.”

Station Duty Officer at the Government Railway Police (GRP) station at Pune railway station said, “Yes, the issue is there. But we hardly get more than four to five complaints per month. It is also because the passengers who suffer from the problem are in a hurry and prefer not to file complaints. We urge passengers to come forward and file complaints about errant auto drivers.”

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    Chandraprakash Sarathe
    May 31, 2017 at 9:24 am
    Isn't 4-5 complaints enough to take action? Shouldn't they do om checks ? These officials themselves at wrong and collided with autorickshaw drivers in turn causing inconvenience to citizens
    Reply
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      Tanya
      May 30, 2017 at 3:14 am
      Very true. Exactly like this happens at Pune Railway station. I am from Pune n I have seen this n number of times. They behave like goons. They will not let cabs to enter. I always go walking 300 mtrs away from station n then call cab.
      Reply
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        Tky
        May 29, 2017 at 10:10 pm
        I booked a cab in March month and I came out to board the cab as cab driver was saying that they can't enter inside the Pune station the fear was auto driver only. Yesterday I took an auto from Pune station to IBM chowk and earlier they said charge would be RS 70 but the drop time they charged me Rs 90. I opposed then suddenly 4/5 auto wala were gathered and started arguing.
        Reply
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          Sayli
          May 29, 2017 at 9:59 pm
          If the police knows there is problem and they get 4/5 complaints a month what are they waiting for.... Pune to turn into Delhi
          Reply
          1. S
            Shailendra Dixit
            May 29, 2017 at 8:23 pm
            It was around 6 o clock when i got down from bus at Katraj chowk with family, one of the rikshaw driver came and asked me destination, i told him it which is only 4.5km. He told me 150 rupees so i refused and told him to take by meter otherwise we will manage but he kept follw us asking rupees 125, though i dnied he and others tried to irritate us. Finally i went by walking to home alone and took bike and taken back my family. It means they take disadvantage of helpless situation. How long it will go.
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              TamilSelvan
              May 29, 2017 at 8:06 pm
              Same harassment happens at Shivaji Nagar and Swargete Bus Depot.
              Reply
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                Wadiya Student
                May 29, 2017 at 5:55 pm
                last year a autowala with dr ambedkar's photo in auto-rickshaw charged 250 rs for railway station to wadiya college. we were three peolple who came for the first time in pune from mumbai. we had luggage so he said he wouldnt go by the meter.
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                  Mahesh Chavan
                  May 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm
                  by Meter max cost would be 40 Rs. Before hiring AutoRikshaw always check distance in Google Map..
                  Reply
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                  Mahesh Chavan
                  May 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm
                  Yes.. This issue must be resolved, I also experienced this all (Asking where you r goin?/ I will drop you? / they always follow people asking "Kidhar chalna hai ?"). Firstly I tired to take AutoRikshow but they not ready to go with Meter. I travel Pune station to Wadgoansheri that will cost 90-95 rs with meter, but they not ready to go by Meter, they ask to pay 250 Rs. and yes they not allow CAB drivers to come inside the gate..really I had very BAD experience with this Autorikshaw drivers. I always prefer to go with OLA cab service.. NEED TO STOP THIS "GUNDAGIRI"..
                  Reply
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