You can’t beat the share autorickshaw and taxi mafia. Our investigation revealed how wide the mafia had spread its net across the different metros, especially Mumbai. Rarely did an autorickshaw driver agree to charge according to the meter. The autorickshaw drivers in the suburbs and the taxi drivers in South Mumbai (where autos don’t ply the roads) are closely knit. They drive only when three or more (sometimes seven) passengers are in the vehicle, leaving hurried commuters with no option but to fall in line.
It’s time to collectively make a noise about the blatant traffic violations by these share autos/taxis. Mumbaikars have started the #ShareAutoTaxiMafia campaign this week on Twitter. The hashtag campaign is gaining momentum as Red FM RJ Malishka and mainstream news media Mid Day and Mumbai Mirror have joined the crusade. Says Malad resident Abhishek Panchal, “Five people are cramped in the backseat on my daily route. They drive rashly and don’t adhere to traffic rules.” Says Harjot Singh from Andheri, Mumbai, “The share autos running from Veera Desai and Lokhandwala drive on the wrong side of the road and don’t care about the law since they are taken care of.”
Three-wheeler drivers claim they are at the mercy of the auto financiers’ mafia which has cornered the market by buying up vehicles which they sell at a 60% premium or more. This is the money, the autorickshaw drivers say they need to recover… from their passengers.
Furthermore, a large percentage of drivers are unlicensed and underage. Most of them come from other states and cannot provide address proof, or do not have a bank account or commercial licence needed to buy a three-wheeler. The financiers facilitate this. The premium on the three-wheeler is the pay-off.
It is time this reckless mafia falls in line.