Such services have always failed
AHMEDABAD: Prepaid auto services have found it difficult to flourish in the city, mainly because of the local auto mafia which charges high rates from commuters. A prepaid service similar to G-Auto was started at Ahmedabad railway station in February 2009 but, due to pressure from local auto unions, it closed down within three months of its launch.
“I prefer taking the G-Auto every time I arrived at the airport. But last week, there was no G-Auto and I had to pay more than double the fare to go to Vastral,” said Niraj Sikotara, a software engineer.
Interestingly, local auto drivers even resort to rumor-mongering to discourage passengers from using G-Auto. Mitesh Sanghvi, a regular traveller, posted on his Facebook page that on August 4, local auto drivers at the airport told him that G-Auto had lost the case in high court and that the service was no longer available at the airport. Sanghvi was not convinced and called the G-Auto phone number to get the service.
Local auto drivers routinely barge into the arrival area and mob passengers to force them to hire their vehicles.
The airport authority and the CISF haven’t been able to stop them.
According to Nirmal Kumar, mentor of G-Auto, the airport director had also written to the commissioner about the problem but no action was allegedly taken. In 2011, there were two incidents of attack on rickshaw drivers of G-Auto and once on Kumar too. These attacks were allegedly organized by the auto mafia.
Nirmal Kumar’s post on Facebook
Money, Muscle and Mafia are the mightiest in India. G-Auto has been force closed under mafia pressure at SVP airport, Ahmedabad. Now it is available only on call for pick & drop service at the airport.
G-Auto booth sabotaged in 2012
G-Auto had set up a booth in the space provided to it by the airport authority, to book autos for passengers arriving at the airport. In October 2012, the auto mafia vandalized the booth. G-Auto had started service at the airport in November 2010 with 200 rickshaws.
Local auto drivers would take a photo of a passenger in a G-Auto vehicle and harass him saying what he was doing was illegal and that his photo would be given to the police. “The local auto guys were taking my photo and harassing me but still I took a G-Auto rickshaw,” posted Malhar Barai on Kumar’s Facebook wall.
Local autos would sometimes allow passengers to share a vehicle and pay lower rates to edge out G-Auto drivers. Local auto unions also went to high court to get an order against G-Auto service but the high court dismissed their plea. The local auto drivers had also compelled the Airport Authority of India (AAI) not to renew G-Auto contract and pressurized them to withdraw the booking counter.
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