No check on auto-rickshaws at Chandigarh railway station, people prefer app-based taxis

No check on auto-rickshaws at Chandigarh railway station, people prefer app-based taxis

Autos parked outside the Chandigarh railway station on Saturday.

Tribune News Service

Amarjot Kaur

Chandigarh, January 15

In the absence of regular checks on documents related with vehicles and identities of auto drivers at the Chandigarh railway station, a sense of insecurity envelops rail passengers who have now started to opt for trackable commuting via travel apps.

On a regular day, hundreds of autos do the rounds of the city railway station hoping to get a potential customer. The single-lane auto route is painted with the green and yellow of the autos parked along the lane. It gets busier when the train drops off passengers at the station; the auto drivers shout from a distance: “Auto chahiye, madam? sir? (Do you need an auto, madam/sir?)”, “Kaha jaogay? (Where can I drop you?)”. For those who fancy the idea of “penny saved is a penny earned”, an auto ride comes as a cheaper option. But safety comes with a price tag.

Deepika Kaur, an HR executive in a Delhi-based company, often shuttles between Delhi and Chandigarh. “My parents stay in Mohali, so I come and visit them every week. I don’t drive in Delhi, so a train journey is a viable option for me. However, I am a little scared to take autos. Firstly, I don’t know if the auto driver is vaccinated, given the pandemic.

Then, I don’t know if he has all his papers in place. It’s not safe. So, I book an Ola or Uber cab instead,” she says.

But things aren’t as rosy for Neelam Devi, who travels to Sitapur in UP every year. She works as a domestic help in Chandigarh and often takes autos when she has to travel in the city and doesn’t have her bicycle. “When I go to my village, I usually take an auto and reach the station. Then I come back on the auto. It’s cheap, I don’t have the money to book a cab and I can’t afford it either. I don’t feel very unsafe, but that is probably because I choose to travel during the day,” she says.

Asked about the frequency of checks on auto drivers, an official from the GRP said, “We are already short-staffed. Almost every other day, we find bodies of people who get hit by trains or are murdered. There are more important issues at hand for us to deal with.”

#automenace #Chandigarhrailwaystation

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