The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has decided to start a prepaid autorickshaw booth at four locations – Shivajinagar ST stand, Swargate ST stand, Pune junction and Sangamwadi (private bus stand).
It will take the City Traffic Police at least 10 days to start the facilities, sources said.
“The booths will give relief to passengers who hire autorickshaws. The approval was given by the RTA a week ago. The City Traffic Police will make all efforts to start as soon as possible. Passengers do not have to worry about fares, because the fare will be the same with current meter reading,” said Deputy RTO Vinod Sagre.
The RTA decided to start the booths after receiving many complaints from passengers that autorickshaw drivers at state transport bus stations and private bus stations in Sangamwadi were fleecing them in the wee hours and demanding arbitrary fare for long-distance journeys.
The RTA, which is headed by the district collector and officials of different departments, including the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the Traffic Police, have given their approval to set up the prepaid autorickshaw booths.
Each booth will have a computer operator to book autorickshaws for passengers. The passengers will get two receipts, one will be for the passenger and another one will be for the autorickshaw driver. Each booth will have a traffic constable who will monitor the rickshaw flow.
The distance will be calculated as per meter. A software that can get accurate distance in kilometres with the help of Google Maps will be used.
Pankaj Deshmukh, DCP Traffic, said that the prepaid autorickshaw service from bus station may take another one week to start. “We have obtained permission from the RTA. The executing agency needs to update its software before we can launch the service,” he said.
Another official from the traffic department said, “The locations have been identified and the setup of booths will be finalised soon. To make booking hassle-free, there will be a traffic constable at each booth. It will take time at least 10-12 days to become operational. These spots witness a lot of traffic.”
Passengers have complained that auto drivers charge them arbitrarily during the morning hours from 6 am to 9 am. At present, there are at least 80,000 autorickshaws operational in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.