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Old 21st November 2012, 19:03   #1
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Default Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

I'm not too sure about other cities, but auto rickshaws in Hyderabad are probably the worst maintained vehicles on the road, followed by buses and indicabs.


A significant number of them do not have headlights working, almost none have both working tail lights, forget expecting the indicators to work. Most of the vehicles look so beat up and dinged they look like crumpled cans of soda. The seats are torn, and if you sit at the edge, expect to have the seat come off. The odometers and speedometers are never seen working. Their wheels have seen new tires in ages.

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Switch on the wiper and you'll be very lucky to see it doing it's job. Some wipers are never replaced, and they often end up hindering visibility. The canvas roof seldom has a window for watching what's coming from behind, and even when it does, the window is so sun faded you wouldn't be able to see anything until it hits you.

I don't think I even have to mention the amount of smoke they produce. I wonder why the "cleaner" LPG ones also emit so much smoke! Do you get cheaper spurious LPG too?

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So, I wonder why this is the attitude owners have towards their auto rickshaws? The govt. couldn't care less, but I thought the owners would have some pride of ownership! After all, that is what earns them their daily bread and it's what they spend most of their waking time with.

However, there's a town called Ramagundam in AP, where I've seen the most well maintained auto rickshaws ever. When you get down at the railway station, you'll see 10s of autos lined up, and you won't help but notice how decked up they are. They have audio systems with kicking bass, LED lights to light up the interiors, some have faux neon lights, all auto lights work, and some have spoilers too . And none of them emit any white smoke. I immediately feel their drivers have a sense of pride in owning their vehicles and I always love sitting in one of them. On the other hand, I totally hate even the idea of traveling in a Hyderabadi auto.

Tell me how it is in your place!

Last edited by hellmet : 21st November 2012 at 19:06.
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Old 21st November 2012, 19:08   #2
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

I dont know about this piece of data but it may not be a global truth. I have seen in Maharashtra fully decked up autos with mood lighting, all chrome (including even chrome wheel caps/covers) with fantastic "luxury-liner like" seats that run upto your head height and dheekchak-dheekchak audio booming out. Essentially, all souped up. Not to that scale but something similar I have earlier seen in Secunderbad side as well.

I am not very sure all autos in today's day and era are those smelly, rickety things of yester years.
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Old 21st November 2012, 19:25   #3
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Chennai might take the podium for not only the best maintained ricks, but also the most modded ones. Infact, some are modded for racing (illegal) and I believe till the cops launched a crackdown, they used to have these F&F style racing on the ECR.

A different matter that you can't say the same about the drivers.
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Old 21st November 2012, 20:01   #4
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Well, I live near Mumbai, in Vasai to be specific, and I can't agree more to your observation about auto rickshaws. These vehicles are thought to be only used for making money, but spending money on its maintenance seems to be a heinous crime for them. I have had a very bad experience personally and have seen many accidents where the sole reason was non maintenance of the vehicles.

I was travelling on my bike with my better half at about speed of 40 on a two lane way, when suddenly an auto coming from the opposite side seemed to just cut into my lane. I was lucky enough to use the disc brakes and come to a complete halt. The three wheeler auto rickshaw's front tyre just got detached from the vehicle and the rick turned turtle after hitting another vehicle(a Mahindra Scorpio) ahead me. The rickshaw was fully loaded(five people including the driver and a small kid around two years old - yes all RTO rules are broken here) and all the passengers escaped without having any major injury.

The point is, the maintenance is so poor, that the tyre just comes out when the vehicle is moving. Aren't these auto rickshaw guys just playing with everyone's life.
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Old 21st November 2012, 20:18   #5
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Auto's are well maintained here in Mangalore barring a few. They look even more chic inside after the advent of digital meters :-)

I live in a place called Bantwal, which is 30 kms away from Mangalore. The story is different here. Auto's are no less than moving disco's. Most of them are souped up with all chrome & bling!!

But the good thing is most of them, I can say atleast 90% of them are well maintained.
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Old 21st November 2012, 20:35   #6
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

@hellmet - Have you seen the "share-autos" (as they are popularly known) that ply between Ameerpet and Hitech City? Most of them are quiet well decked-up with LED lights, wobbling-long antennas (that don't receive anything), awfully loud audio systems, seating that supports the head to name a few.

Best of all - Photos of bollywood / tollywood actors on the mud flaps! :-)
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Old 21st November 2012, 20:59   #7
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

In Bangalore you get to see a lot of new auto (the ones painted green) and hell a lot more beaten up old black autos. The worse is the 2 stroke ones with loads of smoke and very noisy. Most of the 2 stroke autos produce more sound compared to the speed at which its traveling.


Slowly but surely the autos here are moving to the 4 stroke and better looking.
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Old 21st November 2012, 21:50   #8
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

I'd say, you have to blame the RTO.

They have a FC every year, and what all you mentioned as issues has to be fixed. Going by your report, I guess the Autowallas have found a way to bypass the system.
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Old 21st November 2012, 22:23   #9
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Well there are two types of auto drivers.

1. People who own the auto and drive them, these are the people who care about them and look after fairly well. They also tend to drive carefully as it is their own property and are generally well behaved and also don't harass commuters. These drivers don't use adulterated petrol as it affects engine life.

2. People who rent the auto from others. These account for majority of the auto population and the major culprits of ill mannered driving and associated harassment that goes along with it. These drivers don't care about the auto as they don't own them and hence are not bothered about maintaining and usually look for cheaper adulterated fuel to make more money.

The above information is as described by a elderly auto driver who owns three auto's and he himself drives one while he rents out the other two to his relatives.

Last edited by speedmiester : 21st November 2012 at 22:25.
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Old 21st November 2012, 22:33   #10
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Default re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedmiester View Post
Well there are two types of auto drivers.

1. People who own the auto and drive them, these are the people who care about them and look after fairly well. They also tend to drive carefully as it is their own property and are generally well behaved and also don't harass commuters. These drivers don't use adulterated petrol as it affects engine life.

2. People who rent the auto from others. These account for majority of the auto population and the major culprits of ill mannered driving and associated harassment that goes along with it. These drivers don't care about the auto as they don't own them and hence are not bothered about maintaining and usually look for cheaper adulterated fuel to make more money.

The above information is as described by a elderly auto driver who owns three auto's and he himself drives one while he rents out the other two to his relatives.
Exactly!

Here's its math version.

A diesel Bajaj RE cost 1.55lac OTR here in Kerala. An auto driver ( category 2 from above post) has to give the auto owner (its financier) 250Rs a day. He can take the rest ( he also needs to make money for diesel) !

So the owner gets 250x 25= 6250Rs a month on avg and he will recover his money of 1.55lac in around 2 years. So if an auto works with minimal maintenance for 4/5 years, well, who wins?
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Old 22nd November 2012, 11:28   #11
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Default Re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Chennai might take the podium for not only the best maintained ricks, but also the most modded ones.
Are you sure ? I always thought that most autorickshaw's in Chennai are poorly maintained because the cops never dare to check/stop them; especially since most of them are owned/run by their own colleagues. I've never had a good experience with an autorickshaw or its drivers in Chennai; ever.

It's been a while since I visited Chennai, may be the situation has changed.
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Old 22nd November 2012, 11:44   #12
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Default Re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Yes, the autos are maintained pretty well. But they are driven rashly, never go by the meter, charge exhorbitant fares, refuse to ply short distances - basically most of the auto-drivers are not customer-friendly (and that is putting it mildly).
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Old 22nd November 2012, 15:29   #13
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Default Re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

A good question though, over all Bangalore rikshaws seem to be decently maintained. Earlier they used to sputter with a loud sound due to mods in the exhaust.

With authorities reigning in, thankfully the decibel levels have reduced. However the condition of meters is alltogether a different issue with many tampered meters plying around, the drivers are becoming ruder by the day and running at exhorbitant fares without applying the meter
With the introduction of the Call auto service in Bangalore and Pune the situation might improve for users - courtesy www.autowale.in
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Old 22nd November 2012, 15:43   #14
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Default Re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Yes, the autos are maintained pretty well. But they are driven rashly, never go by the meter, charge exhorbitant fares, refuse to ply short distances - basically most of the auto-drivers are not customer-friendly (and that is putting it mildly).
2 months ago, CMBT to Mylapore at 3.50 AM, I had no choice but to pay Rs. 450 for an auto rickshaw. At Rs. 13/km x 12 km, it'd come to Rs. 150, but this was 3x or Rs. 40/km. Like I care; the company I work for paid for it.

Quote:
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However the condition of meters is alltogether a different issue with many tampered meters plying around, the drivers are becoming ruder by the day and running at exhorbitant fares without applying the meter
You might enjoy reading this news article.
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Old 22nd November 2012, 19:11   #15
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Default Re: Why are auto rickshaws not properly maintained?

Not taking their sides, but when you have to maintain a family (rent, food, education) & still live a respectable life, that would be luxury for most.

They aren't driving autos out of choice, are they?

Please reverse the role & ask this question.

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