‘AUTO’CRACY


Governments may come and Governments may go. Celebrity cops may come and  may go.Veeramanis and Veerappans may be eliminated. Land grabbers may be arrested and jailed. Bank dacoits may be done to death. The government and the police may even dispense justice without the intervention of the law courts. But the daylight robbery of Auto drivers will continue and will continue forever. We are fated to put up with this nonsense.
As our friend had said, Chennai is, no doubt, an unfriendly city to the visitors and tourists. You may have come across slightly-different-coloured autos displaying the words ‘Tourists friendly’ and you may think these autos would charge you as per meter, if not, reasonably. You are sadly mistaken. These breed of auto-drivers too are as bad or as good as the other men of their tribe. This is the situation in Chennai.
Of late I am shuttling between Chennai and Bangalore too often, so much so that I have become a frequent-train traveller and can claim rebates in fare if the railway ministry announces one. That apart, my travels in these cities have become real travails. In Chennai, I have switched over to Fast Tracks and Friendly Tracks – call taxi operators. I must confess that I am more comfortable with Taxi drivers for there is no haggling for fare. The meter shows it and I pay without a murmur.
In Bangalore, till recently the auto travel was okay as hiring a taxi near the railway station is a tough job. None can guarantee the genuinity and authenticity of the fare conversion tables displayed by the taxi-wallahs. It was better to hire an auto there.
Of late that too has become yet another tough job.The autos have chosen to boycott the pre-paid stands and park way off the stands. If you choose one of them you will have to end up in haggling and paying a hefty sum rather than as per meter. The police are there but as onlookers. This is the state of affairs now in Bangalore.
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Recently I read a news item about an application which can download on an iPhone or Android phone by the auto-rickshaw commuters. If you have a smart-phone, this GPS-based fare calculator can compute the exact fare. Known as the A-rix Meter, this has been designed and developed by a Bangalorean design student Siddharth Vanchinathan.It is claimed that it could be the answer to many auto woes, especially now, with the new auto fares coming into effect from Monday the 12th  March at Bangalore.
The A-rix Meter uses the GPS function in your smart-phone to pinpoint your location accurately to within 10 metres. When you get into an auto, simply slide the yellow button to the ‘start’ position to start the meter.The meter will run in the background as you continue to do other activities on your phone. When you reach your destination, slide the yellow button to the ‘end’ position and the meter tells you the fare.The A-Rix app can be updated for the new fare

If you’re new to the city and if the auto drivers are not the honest kind, they’ll take you around in circles. Siddharth Vanchinathan points out that by using the inbuilt maps, you will also be able to check the route and even guide your driver if he doesn’t know the way. Also, A-Rix has fare information of several cities in India, so based on your location, it loads the fare charts for that city. So if you happen to move to a new city, this app is a great way to get comfortable with public transport.

Related Articles :

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/3973–dealing-with-autocracy

http://sidv.co/2012/02/a-rix-auto-and-taxi-meter-for-iphone/

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