My first visit abroad,what I missed most were the ubiquitous autos on the Indian roads.
Auto rickshaw is one of the most popular forms of public transport in India.
So much so,even the radio cab aggregator,Ola,has introduced 'Book an Auto' service in its mobile booking app.
What is an Auto?
Auto is short for an auto-rickshaw. Some places it is called as 'rick' or 'tuk-tuk'.
Auto- rickshaw is the automated version of manually pulled two-wheeled rickshaw.
The auto-rickshaw is a three-wheeled vehicle,which can seat a driver plus three passengers.
Auto is Convenient to Hire
Unlike a bus or train,it does not have specified stops. You can hire it from where you see it and you can ask the driver to drop you wherever you want.
It is cheaper than a taxi and is more airy.
An auto is truly the 'Taxi' of Indian middle class.
Also,most taxis in India need prior booking. However,autos can just be hired on the road whenever required,simply by calling out to the auto driver. Wave your hand and call out 'Auto'..that's it.
It is easy and convenient to hire.
In most Indian cities,minimum auto fare for 2kms is Rs.25 and increases thereafter by Rs.7 for every 0.5km.
Here is an useful link:
This website gives a details about auto fares in different Indian cities and also has an auto fare calculator.
Auto-rickshaw Manufacturers in India
Most of the autorickshaws in India are manufactured by these three companies-Bajaj,Piaggio and TVS.
Types of Autos in India
Based on Fuel- CNG,Petrol,Diesel and LPG.
Based on Colour-Black and Yellow,Green and Yellow
Based on Hiring Pattern-Normal Auto,Share Auto,School Auto
Share Autos are bigger versions of the usual autos and can accommodate around 10 to 15 people,depending on the size and type of share autos.
School Autos are normal autos but have an extra seat fitted,so that it can accommodate a couple of more children.
Price of Auto
Price of Auto is anywhere between Rs.1 lakh-Rs.2 lakhs,depending on the make and version.
Piaggio Ape Price in India:
Petrol :Rs. 1,06,645/-
LPG :Rs. 1,23,031/-
CNG :Rs. 1,26,570/-
Diesel :Rs. 1,25,000/-
- See more at: http://www.wlivenews.com/piaggio-ape-city-price-in-india.html#sthash.peLZEyFn.dpuf
· Petrol :Rs. 1,06,645/-
· LPG :Rs. 1,23,031/-
· CNG :Rs. 1,26,570/-
· Diesel :Rs. 1,25,000/-
TVS Auto King Price:
Bajaj RE Auto Price-Rs.200,000/- approximately
Most of the auto drivers in India are literate and can read and write in local languages.
For many people who have some basic educational qualifications and cannot get into an organized sector job,driving an auto is a viable profession and offers a reliable means of livelihood.
The auto drivers are a varied lot and come from all religious and cultural backgrounds. What unites them is their social and economic status.
There are numerous complaints about auto drivers.Rude behaviour, Demanding Extra Money above the Meter,Refusing to ply to certain areas...the list is endless. And it is true that all these are valid complaints.
I have myself faced different experiences with auto drivers. I remember a particular incident on my way back from office. The auto driver demanded Rs.30 more than the normal fare. As it was getting late,I negotiated with him and he agreed to come for a lower price,Rs.20 more than the normal fare. We had barely crossed a few metres,when he told me that the traffic was more and so I have to pay him more. I refused and said I will better take another auto. He refused to stop. I got panicky and rushed out of the auto when he stopped for traffic. He got agitated and followed me and demanded I pay him certain amount. He looked so threatening with his body language and foul language,that I paid him out of fear. Looking back,I feel I should have stood up and refused to pay him. After all,the incident happened inside the campus of the tech park where I work. At least,I could have summoned the security guards for help.
I write this so that other ladies who are in a similar situation with auto drivers,will take heart and have the presence of mind to oppose them.
Of course,there are good people everywhere.There are auto drivers who have taken extra care when they had senior citizens as passengers. There have been auto drivers who have returned valuables,mobiles and cash missed in their autos.
Even recently,I misplace my cellphone in an auto I traveled. The driver was so nice to come back and return it back to me.
There are many players involved in the auto rickshaw driving industry. Most of the time,the people who drive the auto are not the owners. They pay rent on a daily basis and ply the autos. Even in case where the auto drivers are also the owners,the auto is still not the driver's property because it is under loan.
Auto Drivers require a Driving License to drive the vehicle. But to ply the auto,a Permit is required.
Auto-rickshaws being a major means of transport in India. Stricter regulations are needed to streamline the Permit granting process. Also,providing easy loans to auto drivers via micro-finance institutions or nationalized banks will go a long way in betterment of the lives of auto drivers. This,in turn,will hopefully result in better service for customers.
Popular Movies and Auto
There have been many films where the main characters play the role of auto drivers. Some of the more popular movies with heroes playing auto drivers are Basha,Kadhal Kottai,Hero Hiralal.