Lockdown rules eased but now customers hard to come by
Hyderabad: Auto drivers in the city say that the new ‘two plus one’ rule introduced by the government as part of easing lockdown restrictions is doing more harm than good for their business. While auto rickshaws are usually a preferred mode of transport for groups of three or four people, drivers say that people have started completely avoiding the service as they have to hire more than one auto even if they are a group of three people and spend double the amount of what they used to pay earlier.
“If a passenger wants to travel with two or three children, I cannot ask them to take two different autos. Will that person be able to send the children alone in a separate auto and then pay for both autos separately?” asked Satti Reddy, member of Telangana Auto Drivers Joint Action Committee.
According to the new rules, cabs can run with up to three passengers plus driver, while autos can carry up to two passengers. “If two people want to go somewhere, they usually go on a two-wheeler. Why will they hire an auto? I had to say no to at least four groups today because they had more than three people,” said Mohammad Fahad, who was waiting for passengers at Jubilee bus stand.
A senior officer with the transport department said the new rules have been released taking into consideration the current situation to contain the spread of Covid-19. “We will not be able to increase the number of passengers in the auto until we get an order from the state government,” the official told TOI.