Hello Moto Auto !!

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On any given Auto Stand in Chennai, you will find a “Vetti Arattai” going on. It is not that no passenger has requested them for a ride, but its that these Auto-Drivers choose not to drive to short destinations and wait for the “Biiig – Ilichchavaayan” (big looser) and the biiiig-savaari. They do not realize they could make good money, if they accept every “Hire-Request”.

Alright, we have gone through this multiple times on Chennai Metblogs. Chennai Auto Drivers remain unaltered. Why another post on Chennai Autos ? Well, something interesting has been happening within the territories of Chennai Autos.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome “Call Auto !”.

This may sound like a crazy copy-cat idea of the Call Taxi, but if it works as planned then Call Autos will be a lot cheaper and faster than the Call Taxi’s. Unfortunately, there is where i place my doubts on – “Will it work as planned ?”

The question in scope is about the Discipline of the Auto Drivers. Lets get to this later.

Gates India, a company in Chennai (TNagar) has started this initiative (business-initiative) to route Autorickshaws to people who call them and request for a Call-Auto. It works very similar to a Call-Taxi mechanism, except that the Gates-India wouldn’t own the Autos. They just do the routing part – accept calls, find out the auto closest to the caller and route the Auto to the caller.

The fares (this part sounds good) are as suggested by the Government PLUS Rs. 6 as service charge (May be this is what the Auto Drivers ask as “மேல போட்டு கொடுங்க !”). The Auto drivers should pay Rs. 65 everyday to Gates-India.

I don’t clearly see a profit for the Auto Drivers. Rs. 6 per trip ? And end of the day, they need to pay Rs. 65 to their administrator. They start getting ROI (??) only if they have made 11 trips. Well, I might be missing some math here. If there’s someone who knows exactly the numbers, use the comment box.

If only Gates India or any other company can own some autos, and govern it.. it will be a huge hit. Because, as long as they do it, we only get to listen these….”Villiwakkam ellam auto varaadhu sir !!!”…. “night hours sir, extra 50 rupees kodunga !”…”Poyya ! Saavu Graakki !”

4 Comments so far

  1. Hate Chennai Autodrivers (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    Whatever they do and however they do it, the auto drivers in chennai city are the worsest bunch of the lot and they are like Vampires who suck blood out of people, they suck money out of the “paavam” chennaivaasis!


  2. Parthasarathy (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 11:13 am

    Licences for running autos are a vestige of license and control regime of the past.

    45000 licences, mostly under the control of traffic police, is the reason to blame for the high handedness of auto drivers.

    Liberalisation of licenses is called for.

    The new concept might change things a bit. For one, autos might not have to be necessarily ‘driver-owned’ anymore.

    Also, haggling could be done with over the phone itself.

    If more companies like Gates India come into being, we may start having competition at last.


  3. karappaanpoochi (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

    I doubt if such schemes would work. Consider the case of call taxis – which were once launched as a luxurious alternative to fleecing autodrivers have transformed today into silent exploiters. 1. Any trip under 10 kms, today demand a min Rs 150 from the call taxis. Very silent exploitation. Take the case of “Adyar call taxis” which says it will charge me Rs 300 for a round trip between Adyar and Mylapore. The logic being it is only 6kms (well under 10kms) for one way, so Rs 150 for onward trip, and in return, again it is only 6kms, so it is Rs 150. There seems to be no regulation at all from Police in call taxis.
    2. The call taxis hiked their per km charges reasonfrom Rs 10 to Rs 12. Why? Fuel price increase – they say. SO whats wrong you ask. Nothing wrong, only if they have been using petrol or diesel. All of them invariably use LPG, but silently they hiked their prices by a whopping 20%
    Until our police really start policing, there is no reprieve for us common folks…


  4. Vivek (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

    I’ve seen this idea working in Jabalpur (M.P.)

    I was there only for a short while. I saw auto drivers advertizing their cell numbers to people in their locality. Each person would have atleast 2-3 auto drivers’ numbers. Bottomline — You have a working call-auto system. Auto rates were just normal ones, nothing extra. (although the not-going-by-meter problem exists there too)
    Sometimes they used to give other auto’s numbers if they’re busy. It was a give and take business.
    I was impressed.



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