Mumbai: Despite the deadline of January 15, 2023, more than 60,000 auto-rickshaws plying in Thane city are yet to recalibrate their meters for revised fares. According to the official data, there are 85,485 registered rickshaws and just 23,000 of them have been recalibrated so far.
If the drivers miss the January 15 deadline, they will be fined Rs50 daily and also won't be allowed to charge as per the revised fare of Rs23, said the transport department officials. When The Free Press Journal asked a rickshaw union leader why the recalibration process is moving at a snail's pace, the reply was, “Most of the autos plying in the city prefer to share passengers. Hence, they are not in a hurry to calibrate the meters.”
A rickshaw driver, Mohan Jani, said, “I didn't get the time to calibrate my meter. But I will get it done soon. The only worry is that the mechanics are charging more than Rs500 for fixing it which is too much. The transport authorities should look into it.” Another driver Tejinder Randhawa said, “I am aware about the meter calibration process after the increase in the fare. As of now I am using the chart provided to us by the auto-rickshaw union. I will do it before the deadline ends.”
One Manoj Shirke said, “There are many drivers who don't follow the meter rule and ask for more fare than the meter reading. It's a good step by the government but awareness should also be created among the auto-rickshaw drivers for its implementation.”
One of the members of the auto-rickshaw drivers union from Thane said, “We have asked the transport authority to give us more time for the recalibration process. It's not so easy and mechanics sometimes ask for more money than fixed by the state government. We want the deadline to be extended till February, 28, 2023.”
However, the drivers in the adjoining Mira-Bhayandar are actively getting their meters updated.
“A large number of auto-drivers, including members of our union, have either completed the recalibration process or have scheduled an appointment to get it done. While many drivers have gone to their villages owing to the ongoing marriage season, a majority of those operating on the share-route are yet to get the calibration done,” said Sandip Rane who heads the local auto-rickshaw union of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
“I have returned from my village yesterday. Although Jan 15 is the deadline, I will get the meter calibrated tomorrow (Monday) as per the revised fare structure to avoid the last-minute rush,” said Avdesh Gupta, an auto-driver from Mira Road.
“Getting the meters calibrated is beneficial for us. I have got it done without any hassles or wasting much time by paying Rs700. As per a rough estimate more than 55% rickshaws in Mira Road have recalibrated their meters. The process is expected to pick up pace after Dec 31,” said Tashneen Siddique, a rickshaw driver of Kashimira.
Reasons for delay…
I didn't get the time to calibrate my meter. But I will get it done soon. The only worry is that the mechanics are charging more than Rs500 for fixing it which is too much.
It's a good step by the government but awareness should also be created among the auto-rickshaw drivers for its implementation.
The recalibration process isn't so easy and mechanics sometimes ask for more money. We want the deadline to be extended till February, 28, 2023.”
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