RecapLast week, I told the story of the dude from meter jam and the 40-odd thousand enthusiastic people who support the movement. I explained how Meter Jam is nothing but a bunch of self-important, pseudo self-righteous, completely out-of-touch assholes getting together to protest against something because their friends think it is cool and that makes them feel good! A few of you did not like my stance and this article is dedicated for you.
Why Meter Jam such a dumb idea?I found the whole concept of Meter Jam ridiculously asinine because I know a little about how the system works
- RTA offices in Mumbai and Pune have stopped giving new permits for autos way back in 1998! A black market for old permits flourished overnight. Recently, the RTA has allowed transfer of permits but an official transfer of permit costs Rs 25000 (exclusive of pulling some strings and wetting some beaks)!
- Even with transfer of permits now legal, the existing permit owners are reluctant to give away their permits; they prefer to rent them out on a monthly basis and the rents go up to a few thousand rupees a month.
- Most auto drivers do not own autos. They rent it on a shift basis (usually in 8 or 12 hour shifts) and the auto rents again are in the range of a few thousand rupees.
- They have to bribe the police on a regular basis! Auto drivers are usually stopped because the auto is not in a satisfactory condition (broken tail lamp, indicators not working, not having the required papers etc.) which is kind of out of control of the drivers because most of them do not own the auto they drive!
- The permit rents, auto rents, police bribes are all black money transactions. The govt. does not take those into account when setting the fare. They just come up with a number like Rs 8 per kilometer and the driver has to bear all these hidden costs.
- In Chennai and Bangalore, a lot of police constables own autos which are rented out without proper licences and these autos get automatic immunity by ownership!
If morality represents an ideal world, then economics represents the actual world.So every time an auto driver refuses to ferry for a short distance, it is because it does not make economic sense and not because he hates you. A more thorough argument on these lines here @ http://6ampacific.com/2007/09/01/auto-rickshaws-in-mumbai/
I am not saying all the auto drivers are really wonderful people forced to cheat people for survival. Some of them are jerks. May be in cities like Chennai and Hyderabad, a lot of auto drivers are jerks. But the important thing is, they are jerks and we're not protesting against jerks here!
Why are there so many people in this stupid thing?Now back to Meter Jam, a website where forty thousand people feel sorry about themselves on facebook because their lives are greatly inconvenienced by a few semi-educated people with a driving license! The way I see it, not all the 40,000 people are in it for they honestly feel about the cause.
Meter Jammers can be roughly divided into three groups.
1. Gormless, self important and offensively snobbish dudes and babes who have no idea about the very system they are protesting against.
2. A significant number of girls are in because it is cool to protest against something these days.
3. Horny Indian Males who signed up because there are girls are in it. HIMs spend most of their time silently hoping that taking the city bus will improve their chances of getting laid! They also try to be proactive in the discussion forums to establish themselves as the alpha-male.
The Meter Jam Hall of FameIn the reply to "What next for Meter Jam":
Jishna on "How to deal with errant auto drivers":
In the reply to "What next for Meter Jam":
Random comments on random comments on the wall:
Amul uses the opportunity to come up with a witty cartoon :)