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Prepaid auto service withdrawn at Katpadi railway station
After a section of auto-rickshaw drivers raised opposition to the prepaid auto system at Katpadi railway station, the system came to a close a couple of days ago. The opposition was raised as the remaining auto drivers were unable to earn enough, sources revealed.
The short-lived prepaid system was welcomed by passengers as it offered nominal rates. It was started on May 27 but stopped after four days when the other auto drivers who were not part of the scheme opposed it.
Following deliberations with Katpadi railway officials, the system became operational again on June 25. However, the scheme was once again closed down in a few days due to same reason.
Station manager K Ravindranath said, “The system collapsed since auto drivers, who were not attached to the pre-paid system, wanted to earn more than the standard amount. They resorted to unruly methods to collect fares from north Indian customers who were unaware of the actual rates.”
Following these, a meeting was held on Wednesday with Vellore Railway Traffic Officer(RTO) G Ramakrishnan, railway deputy manager (commercial) Jayakumar and representatives of auto driver’s associations in which the association voiced their strong opposition to the prepaid system. Following this, the prepaid booth contractor K Manoharan petitioned the railways that he wants to discontinue the contract.
Annoyed by what was clearly a move to fleece passengers, station officials ordered that auto parking will not be allowed inside the station premises. They would be allowed only to drop and pick up passengers.
Station officials said that they had also requested the Vellore Collector SA Raman to ensure that the government and private buses enter the station to pick up the passengers.
When asked about the prevention of auto sneaking into the station, Ravindranath said, “We have ordered the railway police to book recalcitrant autorickshaw drivers.”