New Delhi, 23 December
About 100 auto rickshaw drivers have so far signed the six-point Aam Aadmi Party letter pledging dutiful driving and well-behaved conduct. "It is an endeavour to form an alliance of 75,000 auto drivers in Delhi," said Karan Singh, AAP campaign manager.
The auto drivers have agreed to be polite to the passengers, go by meter, help senior citizens with their luggage, take sick people to the hospital and never drive in a drunken state. "If they don’t follow these rules, their membership would be cancelled," said Sanjay Chawla, AAP volunteer who coordinates with auto-rickshaws.
"If auto drivers feel that they want a hike in auto fare they should approach the government," said Chawla, indicating that the drivers should not charge more than the meter-rate.
In a bid to avoid challan for refusing to take passengers, the drivers are now expected to carry a placard, mentioning their destination, while returning home. Auto drivers have also been asked not to refuse requests of women passengers, especially during night hours.
During the AAP electoral campaign, many drivers voluntarily put party posters on the back of their autos. Many of them are AAP members.
These drivers will form small associations in their designated areas. "They should keep their documents intact in order to avoid trouble," said Chawla, alleging that the traffic police had harassed them for pasting AAP posters and challaned them falsely.
The party will also guide them on how to perk up their ways. "A helpline number for passengers has also been launched – 8285295634," said Chawla. "We get dozens of calls daily from auto drivers who have been challaned illegally or when their autos get seized or their permits are terminated."