Mumbai: Wary auto and taxi drivers ferry public amid new fare hike

The auto and taxi drivers ‘feel that’ they are better off charging the old fare than going with new ones that came into effect from March 1. The test drive done by Free Press Journal showed that these drivers didn't even bother checking the new tariff card.

The drivers of both autos and taxis told that they would better go with the existing tariff although they know about the revised rates applicable from March 1. The FPJ on March 1 reported about the apprehension of the drivers in charging the new rates.

Ramnaresh Yadav, an auto rickshaw driver from Kandivali said that he doesn't want to take risk of demanding revised higher tariff though his e-meter shows the earlier version. "Unnecessarily don't want to get into arguments with passengers. As it is people are trying to lessen expenditure," he said.

The auto rickshaw drivers are now allowed to charge Rs 21 as base fare. Even the late-night charges have increased in this fare hike. The drivers had a meeting with the unions asking them to see if anything can be done about the fare hike.

A taxi driver from Mumbai Central said that it would have been better if the fare would have been Rs 20 from the earlier Rs 22 as base fare, however the government revised it to Rs 25. "Who is going to travel in an expensive cab? This hike happened at the wrong time," said the taxi driver.

These drivers are allowed to carry a physical copy of the tariff card until they recalibrate their e-meters for which the deadline is till May 31. The RTOs will test the recalibrated e-meters after it's changed and tested by ITI institutes and other agencies across Mumbai.

“Already the drivers are complaining about lesser earnings in the past few weeks since lockdown has been eased. Now with the fare hike, many have informed us about how it would further hurt their earnings,” said KK Tiwari, auto rickshaw union leader who has held few meetings with drivers ever since the hike was announced.

At the meetings, the drivers told the union that people were still concerned about travelling long distances in autos and cabs. And people are using these autos and taxis to ply only till railway stations. In fact outside few stations, the share auto stands have also lowered their fares by Rs 2-3.

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