Around six months ago, traffic police and railway officials had mooted the idea of starting compulsory prepaid auto and taxi service at New Delhi railway station. However, the authorities have dropped the idea for the time being, leaving passengers at the mercy of rogue auto and taxi drivers and touts.
The required infrastructure – changes in the circulating area by creating separate lanes for three wheelers and taxis, relocation of the pre-paid booth, updating of the fare chart – was also put in place to implement the service.
Officials, however, said the enforcement wing of the traffic and the railway police would ensure that the touts do not harass passengers.
“For the time being, we are not making it mandatory. We would decide on it after assessing the demand for the pre-paid service,” said additional commissioner of police (traffic), Anil Shukla after inaugurating the newly constructed pre-paid booth on the Ajmeri Gate side of New Delhi Railway Station along with senior railway officials.
“No vehicle would be allowed to wait in the through lane for too long. We would also put a check on touts poaching passengers outside the building and on the platforms,” he added.
Officials said the data of fare chart at the prepaid booth – which has been brought closer to the station building – has been updated and a rate chart has also been displayed for the benefit of passengers.
While officials said the service would streamline the public transport service at the station, the auto and taxi drivers said that few auto or taxi driver want to operate through the service.
“Traffic police takes service charge from the passengers. However, the prepaid booths lack in even basic facilities like drinking water and a shed for the drivers to rest,” said auto union president Rajendra Soni.
“Moreover, the rate of fare through pre-paid service at airport is 10 percent higher than the railway stations. We have been demanding a hike in the fare chart at the stations accordingly, but that has not happened till date,” he adds .
The traffic police officials, however, said that the situation at the airport and the station are different. “The fare is ten percent higher at airport because the waiting time at airport is higher. However, we would look into the issue,” said Shukla.