Mumbai: Auto, taxi unions urge govt not to issue tariff cards now

The auto and taxi unions have on Friday demanded the Transport Department to not issue tariff cards now as it would create issues between drivers and passengers.

The auto and taxi unions held a meeting with the Transport Department. There was also discussion about the rates to recalibrate these e-meters that the unions had opposed initially. Starting March 1, the fares of both auto rickshaw and kaali-peeli taxis will increase by Rs 3.

On Friday, the unions, meter recalibrating institutes and RTOs held a joint meeting to decide the future course of action until all 2.20 lakh autos and 30,000 taxis in Mumbai get recalibrated e-meters. While the government is planning to introduce tariff cards for easing the process as a temporary measure, the unions claim that this could cause problems on ground.

"In the past too, there were issues between the drivers and passengers over these tariff cards. So we are asking them not to get it printed or published and wait for all e-meters to be recalibrated," said Thampi Kurien, auto rickshaw union leader.

Some of the issues that the union predicts are arguments over the genuineness of these tariff cards, the arguments over distance shown on e-meter and on the card, driver or permit holders delaying the process of recalibration. Also, to ensure that more cabs and autos get tested after being installed with recalibrated e-meters, the RTOs are likely to introduce more test centers.

In the past, after the installation of recalibrated e-meters, table tests done at institutes and colleges, the vehicles fitted with these e-meters were undergoing physical run at RTO test tracks before seal from e-meters are broken. "Each of the RTOs is looking at alternate tracks. This is to ensure that adequate numbers of taxis and autos are tested and social distancing norms are also followed," said another union leader.

The taxi unions claim that the issues of tariff cards will be less problematic for them as the number of vehicles is comparatively lesser than autos. "I have asked the taxi drivers to follow social distancing norms while getting their e-meters recalibrated," said A Quadros, senior taxi union leader.

Meanwhile, the RTO officials said that they are going to publish tariff card that will benefit everyone. "We will also publicize the new tariff rates on social media to ensure its easy access. Recalibrating so many autos and taxis will be time consuming and so this temporary method is needed," said a RTO officer.

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