Come September, auto-rickshaws in Bangalore will have a tablet with internet, GPS, tracking device, e-paper, and a camera, among other features.
Autos with these features will not be charging commuters additional cost over the normal fare.
“The idea behind this initiative is to make auto journey safe and fun for commuters, who are otherwise hassled by rude drivers,” says Arun Kumar, CEO, The Rick. Drivers of these equipted rickshaws have undergone a specialised training programme on safe driving.
“With the help of technology, we will be able to keep track of the kilometres and the speed of these autos,” says Kumar, adding that in case of rash driving, a caution alarm goes off in the auto as well as the head office. In case the driver asks for more money than what is displayed on the meter, passengers will immediately be able to register a complaint against the person.
Phase I of the initiative will see 20 such autos plying in areas like Koramangala, South Bangalore, Electronic City and Marathahalli.
“We will see how it is received by commuters and accordingly we will go in for expansion. Once there are more such autos on the road, we will open the option of online booking for passengers,” offers Kumar.
To ensure that passengers are able to distinguish these vehicles from normal autos, Kumar has roped in designers from Chitrakala Parishat and other institutes to do both the interiors as well as the exteriors of the autos.
“Every auto will have a Karnataka-based theme which will display the history and tradition of the state. The design of each auto will be different.”
“There were a lot of criticism initially, including a strong objection from senior transport officials. But, thanks to the regional transport officer and corporates, who helped us getting government clearance from the RTO and the BBMP, we are finally ready to hit the roads,” said Kumar.
Picture source: DNA