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 Home > City Resources > Transportation > Coimbatore Auto
Auto-rickshaws in Coimbatore

Auto-rickshaws in Coimbatore
Jet Airways

Surprisingly travelling in a Coimbatore Auto-rickshaw can be quite a pleasant experience, if you can bear with the stiff backed seats and the not so aesthetically designed carriage.  The auto drivers are surprisingly very respectful and good at making conversation and can make one feel welcome if he or she is new to town. 

Nine out of ten autos in Coimbatore city are the sturdy old Lambrettas, which still seem to be the favourite option of auto drivers in Coimbatore.  The production of these autos was stopped more than a decade ago.  Most of the autos running today have passed through more than half a dozen hands.  These quaint looking autos have metal tops, instead of the canvas covers that present day autos have.  There are a few Bajaj autos and a sprinkling of Garudas, which can be seen.

Comfort may seem a remote possibility when it comes to these old Lambretta machines, but when it comes to raw power they beat the Bajaj’s and Garuda’s hands down.  They can carry half a ton easily and the well-maintained machines provide a mileage of upto 25 kms per litre.  A new Bajaj RE Electronic Auto gives usually about 30 to 35 kms per litre.  The Bajaj scores over the Lambretta in comfort while the Garuda, with its diesel engine, has an advantage on running costs.

Auto driver Shankar says, “I started driving an auto when I was about eighteen.  At that time my father bought me a Lambretta.  Now thirty years later, I am still driving an auto.  A few years back I switched to Bajaj because I had to sell my four lambrettas to pay for my medical expenses after surgery.  Coimbatore is still the same quite town that it was three decades ago.  It is now a little more crowded and modern.  But still the city sleeps by 8.00 or 9.00 pm.”

On the 3rd of December, 2000, all Coimbatore consumer forums and autorickshaw Unions agreed on a new tariff, which came into effect from the 11th December, 2000.  As per this new tariff, which is a raise by more than 100%, the waiting charge will be 20 paise for every 5 minutes and the night charge, which comes into effect from 10.00 pm to 5.00 am, is a 25% increase over the day charge.

A majority of the auto drivers are very happy over this arrangement, as this has made haggling over rates virtually non-existent.  And as far as tampered meters are concerned, don’t even mention it to them.  They bristle at the very mention of it, swearing by their honesty. 

Text: Joseph Pradeep Raj R
Photographs: V Ganesan
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