Petrol prices are up. So are fares of buses, and cabs, and autos. Well, bus fares have gone Rs 1 up on every ticket, be it Rs 3 or Rs 11. Not a very good ratio but still OK. Cabs have raised their fares too. And now the autowallahs also are trying to get the price raised, and frankly, I do not mind if they do get that, if only they were charging meter fares.
Rs 10 on meter and 20 on meter is old. I generally go with autowallahs who ask for Rs 10 extra, but the trouble are the ones who ask for one and half meter and double meter, even when the sun is shining on the top of the sky. And if you don’t pay, they simply refuse to go.
Well, that’s the condition in the center of the city. Come to the areas a bit on the outer side of the city. Now whitefield is officially a part of Bangalore and comes under BBMP. But the autowallahs probably don’t. Auto prices in Whitefield are outrageous and are now crossing all limits. For example, my home is almost 1100 meters from the main road. Generally autowallahs charged Rs 20 for the distance or simply fit in four people in a ‘shared’ auto for Rs 5 each. Rs 5 for a km was okay for people while Rs 20 for a km or so is pretty good by the meter standards, say almost triple the rate, or at least double if the road beyond my home is also calculated (almost 1.5 km).
But now, with the petrol prices up, autowallahs have made a stand (that is actually a queue) on the whitefield bus stop and have decided to charge Rs 10 for a shared auto. That is, for a kilometer, or say 1.5 at max, they will be getting Rs 40. Calculation says at least Rs 27 a km. Compare this to Rs 7/km that was the official rate, or 9-10/km, the would-be rate. We pay almost thrice of what is the actual price. (more than twice even if you take into account the minimum applicable distance of 2kms)
OK. Whitefield is very much out of the city, totally a corner, come towards the city. What’s the status at Marathahalli Bridge? The bridge is one of the most trafficked areas of Bangalore, with hundreds of thousands of people commuting over and under the bridge/ fly over. Go there and ask the autowallah if he’d go to my office, the EMC Corporation building. The building is actually 3 kms away and the meter used to give you a bill of Rs 21-23 in the pre-hike era. But when asked the price, the autowallah asked for Rs 50 straight. And that’s the fixed rate. All of them would stand with their autos there but none would take you to your office even for Rs 30.
The condition in the central areas of the city also doesn’t look too well. I remember when I came to Bangalore for the first time, some 12 years ago, things were much better. Especially in places like railway station an autowallah wouldn’t even ask where you had to go until he turned the meter and started moving. But now, seems like the law no more exists for autowallahs. And I wonder if there is any hope.