Unauthorised auto parking derails traffic in Chennai

TH01_AUTO_1821611fMTC bus drivers and motorists say they find it inconvenient to negotiate curves. Photo: M. Srinath

Unauthorised parking of autorickshaws and share autorickshaws has increasingly become a hindrance to movement of traffic and pedestrians in many parts of the city.

While pedestrians complain that the vehicles cause obstructions, Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus drivers and motorists say they find it inconvenient to negotiate curves.

One such location where parked autorickshaws cause inconvenience to motorists is at the beginning of the Stanley viaduct opposite Chennai Central. “During peak hours it becomes difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle due to the presence of the autorickshaws. Some of the drivers complain that they are forced to park there as there is no space inside the station,” said J. Guhanandam, a jeep driver for a private firm.

An MTC bus driver said he found it difficult to manoeuvre the bus as autorickshaws are often parked on the road corners. “The passengers haggle with the auto drivers while standing on the road. This can lead to accidents,” he said.

Meanwhile, illegal share autorickshaws have also been found parking their vehicles at unauthorised spots in many areas and causing traffic snarls. “There are only 197 sanctioned share autorickshaws in the city. The other vehicles such as APE and Tata Magic park the vehicles in a haphazard manner. We have received complaints in this regard from residents of localities including Choolaimedu and parts of north Chennai,” said a transport department official.

Autorickshaw unions said they need dedicated parking spaces in all localities where people gather in large numbers. “We understand that a major part of the road is occupied due to unauthorised parking and this slows traffic. But, unless we are provided designated pick-up points, this cannot be avoided,” said a union representative.

According to the traffic police there are only around 200 authorised autorickshaw stands in the city. “The others are unauthorised. But legally we cannot prevent them from parking the vehicles anywhere in the city. We can only ensure they don’t affect traffic flow,” said a senior traffic police officer.

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