Aug 18, 2009

Auto Rickshaw strike in Delhi

Delhi is a place where many things happen arbitrarily. One of them is the very Indian phenomenon of autorickshaw.

The autorickshaw-walla from Delhi is an entrepreneur at heart. He is the model of rational human being that the Microeconomics text book talks about. He perfectly understands not only his well-being, but also that of his tribe of autorickshaw wallas.

Just go to India Gate and try to get an auto to anywhere. It starts with 50 Rs. even if the place is 1 kilometre away. Then you bargain, feel angry, cheated and humiliated when every auto walla asks for the same 50 Rs. You say, "Lets go by the meter" and they just walk away.

And why just India Gate, go anywhere in Delhi, the autowalla is just the same, "Your money is mine" attitude.

Alright, that is one part of story, now the next - they don't go where the passenger wants to. They go where they want to.

And now, they bring the city to the halt. I just hope no one gives in to them. Make them run on the meter. Make them follow the rules. Impound those vehicles whose drivers refuse to ply passengers. And yes, start good public transport (especially safe buses) that make sure that autowalla starts following rules. Incentivize good behavior and penalize bad behavior.

Also, improve financing to them through usual banks. It is said that loanshark's extorting skyhigh interest rate is the cost that they pass on to the customers. They certainly deserve more credit lines on normal rates.

BTW, during the strike, there was no increase in bus frequency to ease people's problems. Autowallas know this and they are right in thinking that people are in trouble.

Just like Delhi, Nagpur is another place where autowallas run the show. Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad on the other hand have generally disciplined autowallas. Here is a Freakonomics article that attempts to explain the difference:
Why is the Delhi autowalla so different from Mumbai autowalla?

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