Monday, November 28, 2011

The Luxury of an Auto Ride

I work and reside in one of the fastest growing cities of India. Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, the gateway to North-East India. But unfortunately, the modes of public transport in the city has not grown over the years, except for the fares. Especially auto-rickshaws. They are the kings of fare rise. With every increase in the fuel prices, they raise their fares. And mind you, no meter system. I have never seen any auto using a meter till date. The minimum fare has become fifty rupees, which is for a distance not even a kilometer. Two years back, the fare for the same distance was thirty rupees. Well, compared to other metros and big cities of the country, auto-rickshaw fares were and still much higher. In all major cities in India, there is the concept of shared autos. But not in Guwahati. So, an auto-rickshaw ride in this city is either a luxury or a majboori (compulsion)! 

The auto-rickshaw drivers charge the commuters so highly with the excuse of high fuel rise. True, but in ninety percent cases, as per my personal experience, they cheat common people. A late evening, add some rain, and will be charged double or at least fifty percent more fare. Surprisingly, I had the good fate to come across a negligible number of honest auto-drivers. I have been charged twenty rupees and forty rupees in two separate cases for a distance of a kilometer in the past one month.

And as far as the fuel prices reason is concerned, it is high time that CNG is introduced in the city. Or at least, shared autos should be introduced route-wise. This will not only result in lower auto fares, but also make the auto-rickshaw the true common man's vehicle.Don't know when the concerned authorities will take notice of the situation.

Till then, in anticipation of a future, where auto-rickshaws will switch from the luxury mode to the convenience mode..