In a bid to make up for the losses incurred during the two months’ lockdown, auto operators in several routes in the city, continue to charge higher fares from the commuters inconveniencing the passengers who are forced to shell out extra amount.
While the city police are cracking whips against the private bus operators demanding higher fares in the name of ‘Covid-Special Fare’, a section of auto operators in North and South Kolkata continue to demand fare more than the specified amount.
Some of the auto drivers operating between Ultadanga and Shovabazar demanded rupees 30 or even 35 instead of rupees 15 from the commuters. Similarly, the several passengers complained of auto operators plying between 4B and B.K.Pal of demanding rupees 25 instead of the existing fare of rupees 12.
In South Kolkata, auto operators in some routes like Jadavpur and Mudiali, Gariahat and Lake Mall were also said to be charging higher fares from the commuters. Such complains of auto operators charging fare according to their will, was reported from several parts of the city.
This apart, auto operators in several routes, particularly in Salt Lake are still preferring to ferrying two passengers with double fares instead of four. According to the auto operators, in Ultadanga, despite reopening of markets and private offices the number of commuters are fewer when compared to the times before the lockdown.
The closure of schools and colleges has added to the agony of the auto operators. “By ferrying four passengers at existing Fres, we are unable to earn enough for our fuel costs,” said an auto union leader in of route between Salt Lake and Ultadanga.
“With countable number of passengers, we are unable to get four passengers in every trip ending up earning very less income. Considering the lack of passengers, we are forced to ply our vehicle with two passengers at double fare,” he added.