Gurugram traffic police have imposed a cap on the number of passengers allowed in shared autorickshaws. Beginning August 12, a maximum of four passengers will be allowed to travel at one time in shared autos, officials informed.
Traffic police on Friday asked auto unions and drivers to remove additional passenger seats next to and behind the driver. Drivers have a week to comply with the order, failing which traffic police will act against them and even impound their vehicles.
Virender Singh Sangwan, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Gurugram, held a meeting with auto unions and shared autorickshaw drivers regarding the matter at the Traffic Tower in Sushant Lok 1 on Tuesday and subsequently issued the directions on Friday.
“Several incidents of people falling out of moving vehicles and injuring themselves were reported recently because passengers travel precariously in shared autos. We have asked auto unions and drivers to limit the total number of passengers to four and modify their vehicles accordingly to avoid fatalities,” he said.
He said that traffic police will start issuing challans to shared autorickshaw drivers after a week for carrying more than the seating capacity, carrying a person outside the body of a vehicle, and obstruction of control of the driver by a passenger, each of which will incur an initial fine of ₹500 and a subsequent fine of ₹1500. He added that regular autos will continue to have a maximum cap of three passengers.
Representatives of auto unions said that they have asked shared autorickshaw drivers across the city to comply with the order. “We support the decision as there have been several recent cases of overfilled shared autos meeting with accidents. Three passengers who were hanging on the side of one such vehicle died last month in Mewat,” said Yogesh Sharma, general secretary, Haryana auto chalak sanghatan.
However, Sharma said that the union will approach traffic police to increase the cap on the total number of passengers. “In comparison to e-autos, CNG, or petrol-based autos, shared autorickshaw can easily accommodate six passengers. We will request the traffic police to increase the cap on the total number of passengers,” Sharma said.
According to Regional Transport Authority (RTA) data (till April 1, 2022), there are around 33,600 autorickshaws running across the city. According to auto unions, 8,500 of these operate as shared autos on routes such as Golf Course Road, Shankar Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Udyog Vihar, and Sohna Road. Depending on distance, rates for travelling in shared autos vary from ₹10 to ₹30.
Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member at Delhi School of Planning and Architecture, said, “Ideally, autorickshaw network in Gurugram needs to be evolved, similar to Delhi, where shared autorickshaws are fewer in number as compared to CNG three-wheelers. The structural design of shared autorickshaws needs to be tested properly, and new safety guidelines need to be introduced accordingly.”