Mangaluru, Sep 12, 2017: Auto drivers in the City are protesting the decision by the Railways to allow Uber to operate from Mangalore Central. Since Saturday, they have not lined up outside the prepaid auto stand, causing a lot of difficulty for passengers.
The decision to allow the app based taxi service to pick up and drop off passengers was taken by the Southern Railways Palghat Division and the Railway Ministry. This taxi service has been running in other metros like Coimbatore, Bangalore and Chennai so it was decide to roll out the facility in Mangalore as well.
According to Mr. Kishen Kumar Bangera, Deputy Station Manager (Commercial), allowing Uber in is for the benefit of passengers. The fares with Uber are very low compared to autos. “Passengers will always see how cheaply they can travel.....our main agenda is that passengers should ultimately benefit.” he said. According to Mr. Bangera, the railways also receives many complaints about auto drivers, that they are over-charging for short distances or if the auto in front of the line charges one fare, then all the auto drivers charge the same fare, thus making it difficult for travellers. “I understand it is their bread and butter but there should not be a monopoly.”
The auto drivers on their part are very angry about the move. They refute what Mr. Bangera says. They say that if they stand in the pre-paid auto line, they have to charge the customer only what is written on the pre-paid slip. “There are some unscrupulous auto drivers operating outside the railway station perimeter who over-charge or are high-handed but most of us follow the rules” said Mr Ganesh, an auto driver in Mangalore for the past 26 years.
Mr Ganesh also pointed out that all that the taxi and auto drivers are asking for is for Uber to operate just outside the railway station but not near the entrance of Mangalore Central, which is their domain. They say the same demand applies for Ola cabs near Kankanady station.
When Uber was contacted by Mangalore Today, there was no response.
Police patrolling the Railway Station told the protesting auto drivers to move their autos away from the parking area normally reserved for buses. The angry auto drivers were told to approach their union leader and the MLA/MLC in-charge of their welfare.