It has been nearly one-and-a-half months since the Delhi government hiked auto-rickshaw fares by 18.75 per cent in the national capital, but the process of recalibration of auto-rickshaws’ meters has not even started yet.
Delhi’s auto-rickshaw drivers have not been given any schedule of the recalibration process for their meters so far. Many of them do not even have the charts of revised auto fares.
This is resulting in commuters being fleeced by a section of auto drivers, while many auto drivers are themselves reeling under uncertainty and distress in absence of recalibrated meters and revised fare charts.
The AAP-led government had issued a notification on June 12, announcing a hike in auto-rickshaw fares in Delhi.
According to the revised auto fares, the “meter-down” charge for an auto is Rs 25 for the first 1.5 km, instead of the existing 2 km. The per kilometre charge has been increased from existing Rs 8 to Rs 9.50. The new fare structure has also introduced a waiting charge of 75 paise per minute if the auto gets caught up in a traffic jam.
Many passengers and auto-rickshaw drivers told The Statesman that the delay in the implementation of recalibration of auto meters by government authorities is causing them hardship.
A resident of Derawal Nagar, Amrita Singh said, “I travel daily to GTB Nagar Metro station. Earlier, I used to pay Rs 40 and now they are asking for Rs 60 or 70 for a distance of about 4.5 km. Because of this, I end up fighting with the auto drivers because they are not charging according to the chart of revised fares.”
A commute of 4.5 km by an auto-rickshaw should cost Rs 53.50, according to the revised rates.
Another commuter, Kavya Taneja said, “Due to the delay in ensuring revised meters, the auto drivers are taking advantage by charging high rates. It’s been more than a month and I have not travelled in a single auto which has revised auto meter or is charging by the revised fare chart.”
Some auto drivers are also facing problems while charging commuters.
An auto driver, who has not yet received the revised chart, said, “If the government provides the revised fares charts to all auto drivers, then we will have less trouble in explaining commuters about the revised rates. Commuters are not ready to pay most of the time ~ they neither believe us nor pay the hiked fare. We still do not have any information about our meter recalibration.”
The BMS-affiliated auto and taxi union secretary, Rajendra Soni, said, “We have not received any schedule about meter recalibration by the department concerned and are still waiting for it. Of course, it is a problem for us as the commuters end up fighting and complaining. They do not pay the hiked price and it has affected our ridership as well.”
The Delhi transport department had earlier said it will issue a schedule for recalibration of registered auto-rickshaws’ meters.
“Approximately 90,000 autos are registered in Delhi and it may take up to 4-5 months or can extend up to 6 months for completing the recalibration process. As per our information, the schedule is yet to be provided for the revised meters,” said a transport department official on condition of anonymity.