Pre-paid auto service from this month

Tiffs over unreasonable autorickshaw fare would soon be pass� at Patna Junction station. Pre-paid three-wheeler service would be a reality in the city this month.

Patna Zila Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh ' one of the four auto unions in the city ' would provide the pre-paid auto service. Initially, 100 out of 9,500 three-wheelers registered with the union would ply on different routes against fixed fare only from Patna Junction. (See chart)

Raj Kumar Jha, the general secretary of Patna Zila Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh, said: "We would launch the pre-paid service in the first week of February."

Patna Zila Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh had sent a letter to Regional Transport Authority (RTA) on December 25, seeking permission to launch the pre-paid auto service. "We received a letter from the RTA on January 24 stating that we could launch the service from Patna Junction."

Jha said: "Commuters would not have to engage in verbal duels with autorickshaw drivers over fare once the pre-paid auto service is introduced. As the fare is not fixed now, the three-wheeler drivers often demand excessive fare from passengers."

According to Jha, the pre-paid service would be safer. "According to our plan, drivers would not get their fare directly from passengers. They would have to collect it from a counter near Patna Junction after dropping passengers."

Jha said passengers would be issued receipts at the counter while paying for the pre-paid auto. After reaching the desired destination safely, a passenger would have to sign on the receipt and return it to the driver. Once the driver produces the receipt at he counter, he would get the fare.

Every receipt would have a contact number. If any passenger finds an auto driver misbehaving, he/she can complain about it on the given number.

Jha said every pre-paid auto driver would be provided with identity cards. "We have also decided to maintain a separate register having the details of the auto drivers and the owners of the vehicles," he said. "The counter would have Internet connection. A CCTV camera would also be installed to record the faces of passengers," added Jha.

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