Mumbai: Autorickshaw and kaali peeli taxi fares likely to go up by Rs 2 once lockdown is lifted

Be prepared to shell out more money for your autorickshaw rides once the lockdown is lifted, as a proposal for a revision in fares, as recommended by the B C Khatua committee, has been approved in-principle recently by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) and a rollout of a hike in fares is imminent, said sources.

Another meeting of the MMRTA – a statutory body chaired by the transport commissioner of the state - is scheduled to be held soon, during which the revised fare will be calculated and a final approval granted.

"The proposal of increasing the fare had been approved by MMRTA, which was proposed by the Khatua committee. The government has also approved the proposal and the revised fares will be calculated in an internal meeting of MMRTA, after which the revised fares will be announced," said Thambi Qurian, general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Association.

Currently, the minimum fare for autorickshaws is set at Rs 18 for the first 1.5 kms, whereas the minimum fare for taxis is Rs 22, which has remained unchanged since 2015. According to sources, the minimum increase in the base fare for autorickshaws will be Rs 2 and the maximum increase in the base fire will be Rs 3. As per the provisional fares, the revised fare for autorickshaws would be anywhere between Rs 20- Rs 21 for the first 1.5 kms.

Sources said the hike in fares for distances above 1.5 kms would be finalised at the next meeting of MMRTA.

"The revision of fare is a must now, because there has been no business for us since the last three months. Also it was five years back, since we had a fare hike. Since we will also have to carry a fewer number of passengers now, the hike will be helpful for us" Qurian said.

Mumbai Taximens Union Leader, A L Quadros also said there is a possibility of a hike in the fares of kaali peeli taxis as well. Presently, restrictions have been imposed on the operations of kaali peeli taxis, due to the lockdown norms. As a result, taxi drivers are also finding it hard to make ends meet.

"The government of Maharashtra has issued a notification and we will meet through a video conference in a couple of days. We will discuss a few important points and will also speak about easing of the restrictions. There is also a possibility of fare hike for taxis as well,” said Quadros.

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