Sunday, October 14, 2012

Should an auto driver take you with what meter reads?

"Bhaiya ! Will you go to Defence Colony ?", said the girl with a couple of big bags in her hand while coming out of Select City Walk, Delhi's one of the best shopping mall.

"Madam 80Rs. !", replied the auto driver.

"Are you insane, it is not more than 60Rs.", replied the girl. Making different faces she moved on to next auto.

"She must have spend 5000 Rs. on shopping but she is not ready to pay 80Rs, which is a reasonable price", murmured the auto driver.

This is a very common scene when we take an auto in Delhi. Sometimes auto drivers ask too much and sometimes we are so ignorant that we don't try to understand the reason why is he not taking us by meter.

I have been trying to dig this for a long time and a couple of months back I realized, its not just auto drivers' fault but the whole system is forcing them to break the law and ask more than what meter reads.

Let's go back a couple of years. In June 2010 CNG was at 21.9 Rs./kg and was increased to 27.5 Rs./kg in July 2010 and at that time the revised auto fare was set at 19 Rs. for first 2 km and then 6.5 Rs./km for every additional km. Current CNG rate is 38.5 Rs./kg, which means fare raised by 11 Rs. in last two years but there is no change in auto fares, they are still the same.

Do auto drivers get subsidy in buying vegetables or healthcare or education or rising home rent in Delhi? All these prices have changed and each item has seen a new high in last two years. On an average, our salary increases by around 10% every year. But who cares about auto drivers, private security guards, peons and many more in such types of jobs.

This is just one part of the story. The other part is far more shocking. In Delhi you need to pay a bribe of around 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs to get an auto license. So, the cost of an auto in Delhi is not less than Rs.5 lakh and may go upto 6 lakh. And after this bribe and all, every auto driver has to give something between 100 Rs. to 200 Rs. everyday as a bribe to different policemen. If we think that this is driver's fault and he is giving bribe, then I feel we are wrong. It's the system that we have created and not just the driver, we all are equally responsible for this. When we all are using that auto, why don't we share the bribe ? (I know you might find this vague but that the truth) Why should the driver bear it all ?

Do we ever think all this while taking an auto ? Do we think that most of the auto drivers are on a rented auto, for which they pay 300 Rs. for one shift ?

Then how can an auto driver take you with what meter reads ?