Chennai, May 7(BPNS)
Sharing autos in Chennai are a hit among the commuters as public transport buses are allowing passengers only 50% of their capacity. Also buses are not allowed to carry passengers in standing positions and hence most of the buses don’t take passengers in between bus stops.
The sharing autos of the city are emerging as the replacement for buses and most of the commuters who are not able to catch a bus are using the services of these sharing autos which amount to around 60,000 numbers in Chennai city.
However most of these sharing autos are taking passengers above their allowed numbers creating crowding inside the autos which is a major health hazard given the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Harinarayanan , a commuter who regularly takes shared autos from Anna Nagar to Nungambakkam while speaking to BPNS said,” I am a regular commuter of shared autos but now these autos are taking passengers beyond their allowed limits and in some cases they accommodate more than 6 passengers at a time and this is creating discomfort. The police are turning a blind eye to such a scenario and this is a major health hazard.”
The auto drivers however disagree with the allegation and Muruganandam , an auto driver who ferries passengers near Koyambedu market said, “We are aware of the situation and the grave danger the pandemic has inflicted on us as a society and hence we will not overlook the Covid standard protocol. Maybe one or two sharing autos would have taken a few extra passengers and please don’t generalize this. We are taking people only on the basis of the numbers allowed by the authorities.”
However there were several instances of police charging the auto drivers for having taken more commuters than allowed and fined them.
Thangavelu R, a traffic police sub inspector attached with the Chennai traffic control room while speaking to BPNS said, “The police is on the alert and we are charging those autos who are violating the government guidelines in carrying more passengers and creating a crowd in the autos. We have charged many auto drivers and this tendency has come down following the tough stand taken by the police. However we have to plug all holes to clear this menace.”
With the buses continuing to reduce the intake of passengers, the shared autos will continue to operate and most of them will pay a small amount and settle the matter.