Most auto drivers in Bangalore are jerks. I said MOST, because there are some who are good.
Auto guys are stupid too, but that’s another discussion.
Observe auto drivers, especially in areas where there are auto stands and you’ll see how they’ll wave passengers away, how they’ll ask for more money (during the day), and how they just don’t care. You won’t get proper change back because sometimes the guys just don’t carry spare change. If it’s raining or at night, then all bets are off and meters are like the appendix in the human body.
Then, there’s the whole meter being doctored thingamie. I’ve noticed a few times that the meter starts moving quicker and I tell the auto guy and he says, Yeah, it’s not working properly. This piece of information is available only when you confront the guy, otherwise you’ll probably pay more.
In contrast, in Mangalore, you sit inside the auto and tell the driver where you want to go and he’ll take you. He’ll even give you exact change because he’s got a change purse like bus conductors do. Fast forward to Hyderabad and the auto drivers do take you for a ride from time to time but mostly they’re not as bad as Bangalore. Chennai auto drivers don’t use meters, so if you’re new to the city, prepare to shell out the big bucks. Also, Chennai auto drivers give their Bangalore counterparts a run for their money when it comes to rudeness.
Back to Bangalore again. If you arrive by train at Cantonment station, you’ll see that sometimes you cannot get autos in the pre-paid counter because even if there is a traffic policeman, the auto guys stay away or pick up passengers before the stand.
If you’ve travelled in an auto recently, you would’ve noticed that the ID card of the driver is posted in the auto. That’s a positive step but it doesn’t help if you don’t let people know what to do with the information. How about a sign on all autos with a number to call to report problems? Taxi drivers for IT companies have this on their cars. It would work.
Also, when you have the number inside the auto, you can’t complain if an auto driver refuses to come to a certain place. You can only take down the license plate number, if you’re quick.
I think that people should be encouraged to sit inside autos and then tell the guy where they are going. I can understand that some auto guys don’t want to go far away from their home late at night. But, if they have problems during the day, they shouldn’t be driving autos.
Now, if I can get the power to do something. *Evil laugh*.
PS: Feel free to leave comments about what you think should be done to improve the situation.