Tag Archives: Delhi autos

GPS and receipts will not stop Delhi’s auto-wallahs from overcharging: Simon Harding

Guest post by SIMON HARDING

Last week, the Delhi High Court gave the go-ahead for the compulsory installation of GPS systems and printers in the capital’s auto-rickshaws by dismissing petitions against the policy from auto unions (download judgement .pdf here). The GPS kits are supposed to allow the Transport Department to track the movement of Delhi’s autos. The printer will provide the passenger with a fare-receipt, which will show the distance travelled and the amount paid. The policy will eliminate over-charging and will provide “secure and transparent travel” to the capital, claims The Hindu.

Sadly, the installation of GPS systems will do little to address the problem of over-charging. On the contrary, it may actually exacerbate it. Continue reading GPS and receipts will not stop Delhi’s auto-wallahs from overcharging: Simon Harding

A few questions about a few thousand new auto-rickshaws in Delhi: Simon Harding

Guest post by SIMON HARDING

On Friday, Supreme Court judges KS Radhakrishnan and CK Prasad gave the go-ahead for 45,000 new auto rickshaw permits to be issued in Delhi. The move has the potential to drastically improve the city’s auto-rickshaw service for passengers and drivers alike, but many unanswered questions about distribution, implementation and numbers remain.

There are currently around 55,000 auto-rickshaws in the capital. The number of autos has not grown since the Supreme Court stopped the issuing of new auto permits in 1997 due to concern about the pollution emitted from the old dirty two-stroke petrol engines (now replaced with CNG).

The number has not remained frozen. Evidence suggests that it has actually fallen since 1997 because around 20,000 autos were lost during the CNG switchover as many drivers had their permits cancelled as they were too slow to convert their autos to the new fuel or simply could not afford the conversion. The fall in numbers contrasts with the growing demand for autos from Delhi’s population, which grew 21.6% in the period 2001-2011.

Continue reading A few questions about a few thousand new auto-rickshaws in Delhi: Simon Harding

The Truth Behind the Strike

In a recent guest post, SIMON HARDING of Delhi’s AMAN Trust had explained why Delhi’s autowallah is not the villain he is made out to be but a victim of the Delhi government’s policies, the Supreme Court’s whims and the financier mafia’s greed. In this post he writes about the strike by Delhi’s auto drivers yesterday and why a majority of the drivers were not in support of it.

Yesterday there was an auto strike in Delhi. The city was crippled. Taxis tripled their fares and buses ran full to bursting. The strike, called by Rajendra Soni of the Dilli Autorickshaw Sangh (DAS) and supported by many other auto unions, was well observed with few drivers plying the streets. The striking unions demanded that Sheila Dikshit retract her recent comments about “phasing out” autos. They also called for a raise in the meter fare (Rs.4.5 per km) following an increase in the price of CNG. Continue reading The Truth Behind the Strike

Auto-rickshaws in Delhi: Why Sheila Dikshit’s comments are misguided

Guest post by SIMON HARDING

As every Delhite knows, taking an auto journey in the capital is not a pleasant experience. Drivers speed off at the very mention of your home or office, leaving you stranded on the roadside. When an auto-wallah finally agrees to go where you want, he steadfastly refuses to run by the meter and instigates a minute or so of stressful haggling. You arrive at your destination frazzled, irritated and over-charged. This situation has not gone unnoticed. Chief Minister, Sheila Dixshit recently announced plans to phase out the auto-rickshaw after five decades of service. Auto-rickshaws are “not a good option”, she complained, auto-wallahs “harass” passengers and up to half are plying the streets “illegally”. With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, the eyes of the world will soon turn to Delhi. Auto-rickshaws do not fit with the CM’s desire to see visitors return home “with the impression that they have been to a truly civilised city”. She promised futuristic battery powered taxis, which thrilled middle class Delhi.

But before the auto-rickshaw and the much-maligned auto-wallah can be condemned, we must look at how the auto-rickshaw sector in Delhi operates: at the rules, regulations and policies, which govern the livelihoods of the city’s 80000 or so auto-drivers. Some questions need to be answered: why are Delhi’s auto-wallahs so greedy and grumpy? Why won’t they switch on the meter? Why do so many ply “illegally”? Continue reading Auto-rickshaws in Delhi: Why Sheila Dikshit’s comments are misguided