There is no definite fare chart for pedicabs in Siliguri and people have a hard time commuting from one place to another because the service is too expensive, says anindita raha
The line – take me home rickshaw, you know my address – which was once used reliably is barely used in today&’s world. People don’t even bother calling a rickshaw nowadays. So what has caused people to become indifferent to this particular vehicle especially in Siliguri?
In the past, people would walk miles to reach their destinations. But today walking has become a mere physical exercise to keep one&’s body slim and fit. Small two-wheeler or three-wheeler vehicles like rickshaws, autos and buses have replaced it. Previously there were two-wheeler rickshaws generally drawn by one man with one passenger.
But this vehicle has now transformed into three-wheeler pedicabs dramatically changing lifestyles and people gradually became dependent on them. Every advantage has its disadvantage and this was no exception and in return this increasing dependency raised fares.
Today one can barely think past using these vehicles to commute from one place to another even if the distance is short. What you paid a rickshaw wala a few years ago for his services has doubled today. As if that&’s not enough, they aren’t satisfied with what you give them as fare and negotiations usually end in a lot of haggling and scraps. These tendencies are gradually increasing day by day in Siliguri and both common folk and the administration is quite aware of this problem. Though commuters have to face problems regularly, no one is eager enough to come forward and solve it.
Few years ago, some people got the opportunity to speak their mind out on a local television channel in the presence of Siliguri mayor, Gangotri Dutta. Still nothing has been done though apparently a chart has been made with rates according to the distance traveled. However whenever commuters travel in rickshaws, the drivers prefer to pick a fight when they are asked to produce their fare charts. With every passing day, it&’s becoming hectic for people to afford this price rise.
The administration is further mocked because rickshaw walas were provided with green uniforms which they were expected to wear for the duration that they work but after the first few days they went back to wearing normal clothes. Regardless of whatever happens, the administration hardly takes any responsibility.