Chennai: For passengers who arrive at Chennai Central station last week and tried to book a prepaid autorickshaw, the unavailability of the facility has caused great inconvenience. However, there might be hope ahead as the Government Railway Police (GRP) has indicated that it might operate the facility once tariffs for autorickshaws are fixed.
The prepaid auto counter was closed nearly one-and-a-half months ago, owing to work on the Metro Rail project. The facility began in 2007 and catered to an average of 1,000 passengers per day. The facility was very popular with commuters looking for relatively inexpensive rides.
“My uncle had advised me to take a prepaid autorickshaw so that I would not have to pay a huge sum. But I finally had to take a regular auto anyway,” said Mr. Kishore. The prepaid autorickshaws charged Rs. 30 for two kilometres and Rs. 9 for every additional kilometre, said G. Arumugam, president of the prepaid autorickshaw drivers’ association.
Mr. Arumugam said that following the closure of a portion of the road for Metro Rail work, the traffic police prevented prepaid autorickshaws from waiting on the road.
“Around 50 vehicles are parked on the station premises but they charge the same rates as regular autorickshaws. We have requested railways officials and the traffic police to provide us with a separate counter from where operating the prepaid facility would be easy,” he said.
A GRP officer said they might soon begin operating the counter. “The counter used to be run by the police before it was handed over the autorickshaw drivers’ association. We will operate it again and provide tokens to passengers and streamline the system,” said the officer.