Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Namma Bengaluru Auto Drivers

Every fight with auto-walaas in Bangalore for various reasons like rash driving, demanding excess fare, taking the long route, refusing to hire etc reminds me of those cooperative auto drivers in my hometown and places like Mumbai.

It's a nice feeling that you get when those smiling auto - walaas take you through some of most crowded areas without asking for a single extra penny.

I loved travelling by auto's in Mumbai for the simple reason that the auto walaas would be my guide.
I still remember the dear auto walaas who showed me the beautiful bungalows of celebrities, mentioned all the places to visit nearby, train timings, directions etc without asking a single question.
Sometimes it used to be frustrating but then at the end of the ride he would just smile and give you some other extra information of the place where you had stopped without charging an excess fare. 
Here in Bangalore, you will find good auto drivers but the minute they start talking sweetly you got to tell yourself "wait and watch you will be asked for an extra fare". Then at the end of the trip, they tell you all heroic stories like how they got you there in time even during the peak hours.

I am not saying that all auto walaas in Mumbai or other places are very good. Of course, you will find cheaters even in Mumbai but the majority is bad in Bangalore or even Pune for that matter.

The day I had to leave Mumbai I took an auto from Andheri to Navi Mumbai. After reaching the destination, I realized that I had 8 rupees less than the fare shown on the meter. I was in a hurry and I said, "Bhaiyya jara thamba, I have 8 rupees less and this is all I have in my purse, maybe I will borrow from someone, I am so sorry". His reply made me really happy "Beti, I guess you are getting late, koi baat nahi, next time de dena" which means that's okay, give it to me next time. He knew he would maybe never meet me again but still he did understand that I was in a hurry with no money left in my pocket. I still thank and pray for that auto uncle who helped me during the hour of need.

I have seen a lot of auto drivers who are really hardworking, dedicated and live only to support their family. The biggest problem in Bangalore with the auto drivers is that they don't give respect because the atmosphere they live in is like that. Most of them live in slums and spend all of their income on alcohol and meat. These auto drivers act like beggars, but the reality is that make close to Rs 1200 per day. So don't you think there is a need for rehabilitating all these auto drivers. I have heard that there are such free courses available  but when all of these auto drivers make use of it, we might see some change.

When the shared auto fare had increased from Rs 7/- to Rs 8/- per person in Airoli(Navi Mumbai) for a 2 km distance, people refused to pay that extra 1 rupee. The auto drivers had a tough time convincing their passengers. Do you see that happening here in Bangalore? It is the other way round, you need to talk to the driver softly.Even if you refuse, you have no option left when there are no buses/cabs on that route. I also agree that there were drivers in Airoli who refused to hire but never shouted at ladies.There are exceptions all the time, but I had not faced any bad situation.

In Bangalore sometimes I have to pay 80rs for 3km distance and once an autowaala asked me to pay 20rs extra as there was no light on the streets, I could not argue as the place was dark with not many people around.

In my opinion, it is always better to be safe than regretting later, here are some points to bear in mind.

  • Check if the driver is polite at first sight, if not then wait for another auto.
  • Before boarding an auto get a fair idea of the route to avoid any arguments later.
  • Once you get into the auto make a note of the driver's details displayed and text it to your friends or family.
  • Usually, auto is cheaper during peak hours compared to cabs.
  • Never get into the first auto, ignore first two asking a higher price.
  • Cross the road if you have to hire the auto in the right direction. No point in standing where you are and hiring auto in opposite direction and then paying him extra for that U-turn.
  • During the day, you could go for an auto for less than 5kms, but it always good to book a cab.
  • You could also check for the fare of different cabs in your app installed in your cell phone and choose whichever is better.



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