Noida auto-permits cut a hole in commuters' pockets

Ghaziabad RTA penalise autowallahs for violations and they, in turn, pass it on to the commuters

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | October 15, 2010



A fight over turf for autos between the Ghaziabad regional transport authority (RTA) and Noida auto-drivers is penalising the average commuter.

The permits issued by the Ghaziabad authority to Noida autos are given for three zones/areas - Noida city centre spread over a 16 km radius, Dadri for the surrounding rural areas, and Kasna for an area spanning a radius of 16 km from Kasna centre (permit for Kasna includes Greater Noida).

The authority penalises drivers violating the zone permits with a fine of Rs 4,000. But the actual 'fine' amount is higher still - most autowallahs agree that nearly Rs 1,000 is spent bribing police for retrieving seized papers and other such expenses.

Ghan Shyam, a Dadri permit-holder,  says “We do not get passengers in Dadri. We have to come to the city. I have been caught and fined many times by the RTO. If every time we have to pay so much what will be left in our hands?” Nobody wants to operate in areas like Dadri and Kasna where we don’t get any passenger, he adds.

As a contingency for such penalties, the autowallahs are now choosing to overcharge commuters - asking as much as a quarter to a half of the normal fare in excess. Stuck for the lack of transport options passengers end up paying for the authorities' apathy and the autowallahs predicament.

Moreover, no new permits are being issued for Noida City Centre since the last two years. The authority cites an adequate number of autos as reason for the drying-out of permits.

However, the situation was quite different two years back when there was only one permit for the entire Noida municipal area.

“We have complained to the authorities concerned several times but we just get empty assurances. We are paying Rs 1,800 road tax per year and are allowed to operate only 16 km. How is that fair?”, asks Surya Kant, who has a Noida city centre permit.

When contacted, RTA officials say the matter has been taken up to the state authority.

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