Sunday, 18 March 2012

Early morning ordeal with a Rickshaw driver....Arghhhhhh

After a 2 day work trip finally I reached Ahmedabad on Saturday early morning by a night bus.  As usual the moment you get down the bus the rickshaw driver's just gather around you and pressure you to board their rickshaw to get you to where you want to.  So I asked one richshaw fellow, how much will he charge to take me to Shyamal cross roads ?  My place is quiet close from the bus office that no rickshaw driver wants to go by the rule to charge me as per the meter.  As its early and mostly all rickshaw drivers would like to charge atleast 3 times so they fancy that every person getting down from the bus would give in to their demands.  

This rickshaw driver told me he'll charge Rs. 30.00 to drop me till Shyamal cross roads.  During the day time this ride would actually cost only Rs. 11.00, the minimum charge and late night charge as per 1.5 times more would cost Rs. 17.00.  I told that guy are you crazy, and started walking.  One more rickshaw driver approached from behind and agreed to take me by meter, which was quiet surprising to me.  But it was fine with me.  I was actually looking forward to take a rickshaw ride since last few days particularly after I read one article in the Ahmedabad Mirror on how 90 - 95 % of the rickshaw drivers are actually cheating the commuters.  Few rules that the rickshaw fellow's should follow are actually not known to the people and taking advantage of it mostly all of this guys blatantly violate it and don't even have a slightest of shame or moral to actually follow at least some of this rules.  

Rules that are to be followed but are mostly violated by the rickshaw drivers :
  • Autorickshaw drivers are authorised to use only flag meters. Round meters were banned by the government in 2009. 
  • Autorickshaw drivers cannot refuse to ferry customers, even if to a nearby destination. If the driver says no, he is liable for a minimum penalty of Rs 100.
  • The driver can charge 1.5 times the regular fare only in areas outside AMC limits. He can also charge 1.5 times the regular fare between 11 pm and 5 am as night charge. 
  • Every rickshaw driver must wear the batch number issued by the RTO. They cannot drive a rickshaw without the number and are liable to be penalised. 
  • Even if it is his rickshaw, a driver cannot smoke when a customer is sitting in it as it is considered a public vehicle. 
  • Drivers cannot misbehave with customers or be rude to them. They can be penalised for misbehaviour.
Even I didn't knew about this rules.  And one most shocking thing that I noticed was that, as per the rate card authenticated by the Regional Transport Office, a minimum of Rs 11 (day fare) is charged if the meter shows 60 points (1.2 km). However, according to the fake cards carried by most drivers, the minimum is charged for 24 points. For 60 points, they charge Rs 25, which is more than double the minimum fare.  So till today for all the rickshaw rides I had taken I was cheated and I don't even know for how many rupees ?  
Since I came to know about this, thanks to Ahmedabad Mirror I was eager to get back on this rickshaw drivers and tell them that you are big time cheaters, better stop this cheating business as now you all are exposed.  

When I reached my destination I asked the rickshaw driver, man how much do I have to pay and he told me Rs. 30.00 sir.  So it was sure that he is trying to cheat me.  I told him to show me the meter reading which he said you can switch on your mobile and see it yourself.  When I checked the meter was actually not working and so I asked the rickshaw guy can you read the meter reading ? And he told me its 58 points sir.  I asked him to show the rate card and he refused saying he doesn't have it.  So I had to tell him with authority that the actual charge is Rs. 11.00 and not Rs. 30.00 and that the card that you guys are showing to customers are fake ones.  The actual rate cards have 60 points for the minimum fare and you guys show 24 points as the minimum fare with fake rate cards.  Also this round meters that you are using are illegal and you aren't wearing your batch no. too.  So better accept this 11.00 Rs. and go on your way.  

He got so agitated that he handed me my money and said sir you can better have this ride as a free one.  I said wow that's fine with me and I took my money and started walking.  To this he got so furious that he got down and shouted at me that who do you think you are ?  I told him if you want take this actual fare or else i'll have to call the traffic police on 1095 and they would settle the score.  And still he was like do whatever you want to but you'll have to give Rs. 30.00.  So finally I called 1095 and as expected no one was answering it.  But when the rickshaw driver saw that i'm actually calling 1095, he just took the 11.00 Rs. started his rickshaw and went off.  Uffff what an early morning I had.  But felt satisfied.  Its so so satisfying for me when I actually have my say against this rickshaw fellows who mostly never ever leave a chance to extract more money from the customers........ ;)

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