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Students measure up to fast meters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Priyanka Ganwani finds out how students from R.D. National College, Mithibai and Bhavan’s have initiated a unique queue system to tackle  erratic and arrogant auto-rickshawallas and their rigged meters

Whether it’s a submission to keep up with or an exam to rush for, it’s not easy being a student. The added tension of getting to college in a timely fashion after a long train journey only mounts up, hassling college goers everyday. In order to resolve this and counter the moody rickshaw drivers at the station, students from R.D. National College (Bandra), Mitibhai (Vile Parle) and Bhavan’s (Andheri) have started a unique student’s queue at their respective stations.

Speaking to the ADC, Manzil Thakkar, student, R.D. National College said, “The queue system is very student friendly as all the students who want to go to the college line up in a queue and three students per rickshaw move as the rickshaws arrive. Apart from saving money as one would earlier travel alone, it also saves time.”

The scene outside Bandra station is ready evidence as a queue of over 20-30 students wait to get into the metered rickshaws. Though the sharing ones have their own drawback but their affordability is praised by all as it turns out to be cheaper than otherwise. Every student travelling gets to split the metered fare amongst three or even the fourth, added Sudeepto Das, student, Bhavan’s College.

Adding further, Mini Jain from Mithibai says, “The queue is not just for the students but those running for work, wanting to get to areas near the college as well. We do not mind any office-goer accompanying us so long as he/she is paying the Rs.4 (Per head) for the ride till the college gate.”

Student’s Smile… AUTO-Rickshawallas frown
The flip side to this: the operating rickshawallas are not very happy, as they go in for a loss and don’t give in as much. As a result at times the queue may even increase and require intervention by traffic police.

“But we have never stood for more than 15 minutes in the queue,” said Joytsna Gole, student, R.D. National College.

The recent drama of the hike in fares and owing to the famous inconvenience and refusal that the rickshaw drivers use at their disposal otherwise, students are only left to resort to barging into the sharing rickshaws, as soon as they near.

For students, this gives no ease to their pockets as they end up spending three to four times more on travelling from the station to even Linking road, Bandra. “I could save up to Rs.300 rupees otherwise. I have to keep Rs.500  aside for my travelling from the station to college for my monthly conveyance,” said Thakkar.

Though at times Thakkar misses his privacy he is satiated with shelling only Rs.9 for the two-way ride to and from his college. Shweta Bhatia, an advertising student from the same college agrees, “It is time saving but in compensation I sometimes have to be okay with guys leaning into me and bear it with some discomfort.”

Walking would only be an option for Bhatia who at times smartly asks one or two girls getting into the rickshaw heading to the station or college. “A student’s concession for rickshaw rides from the stations to the colleges would be bliss if ever passed by the state government! Or they should make these ‘Student Queues’ mandatory for the rickshaws to abide and for colleges to initiate at the earliest,” says Bhatia.

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