Auto fare regularization – Lok Satta welcomes – More action should be taken
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 @ 11:01AM
The Tamil Nadu government has issued an order to regularize Auto Rickshaw fare in the state. Though this order is much delayed and only because of pressure from the Supreme Court, it should be appreciated that the fare fixed is reasonable, helpline contact number for complaints is notified with violators being warned with stern action.
However the fare has been fixed keeping in mind the cost of living, traffic congestion and petrol expenses for an auto driver in a city like Chennai. Hence this fare should be considered as the ceiling and provision should be made for auto drivers to collect fares lesser than this limit. Autos running with Gas as fuel and corporates like Namma Auto manage to offer services at a fare lower than this fare fixed by the government. This order might prompt them to increase their charges, as fixing equal fares irrespective of service quality is always a deterrent for good service and competition. This fare should be treated as ceiling and government should allow corporations to charge lesser than this fare.
Metering is beneficial for the patrons as well as the auto drivers. Metering eliminates the fare negotiation problems which will encourage people to prefer autos more than before, thus giving more earning opportunity to auto drivers. This was evident in the opinion survey by Lok Satta Party taken across auto drivers, union people, and public during our campaign demanding auto-fare regulation.
Government has proposed to install GPS machines and emergency/alarm buttons at a cost of 80 crores. This kind of high investments should be utilized to the full extent like establishing a call centre which can direct autos to the needy people and enable people by mobile phone applications to check the availability of auto in an area.
At present an auto driver cannot pick up a passenger other than their own stand. This causes revenue loss to the auto-drivers as they are compelled to return empty from the drop point to their original stand. This practice should be changed and auto drivers should be allowed to pick up passengers from other stands as well.
An important item the government has missed is to setup fare revising committees. There is no direction in the order about how future fare revisions will be carried out, methodology to calculate the fare and frequency of fare revision. We cannot afford to wait for 6 years, file another case in the supreme court and push the government to revise the fares once again. Lok Satta Party demands a fare revising committee to be setup with members comprising of auto-driver unions, transport department officials and civil society groups. The revised fare recommended by this committee can be approved the government.
Lok Satta Party demands the government to implement the above-mentioned suggestions to ensure hassle free bargain for auto-drivers and convenient commuting for passengers.