The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) on Friday raised the minimum fare for autorickshaws in the city to Rs 17 with fixing the first stage at 1.5 km. The hike will come into effect from October 15. The present minimum fare is Rs 11 with first stage fixed at 1 km. The fare for subsequent stages have been fixed at Rs 11.65 per km.
The RTA decided for a fare hike after taking into account the recommendations of the Hakim Committee report. It had stated that the fare should be revised depending on the cost of living. The hike was calculated after going through the rise in cost of living as well as the fuel price hikes in the recent time,RTA officials said.
The decision to extend the first-stage distance apparently was taken to address the consumer complaints that autorickshaws refuse to operate within small distances. Increasing the minimum fare will make the short distance trips affordable to the autorickshaw drivers.
After the change of the first stage,the autorickshaw metres will have to undergo calibration as recommended by the committee.
It is mandatory for each autorickshaw owner to caliberate the e-metre within 45 days after the announcement of the fare hike (before November 31). Those failing to do so will have to face penal action. Either their licence will be suspended for a minimum seven days to maximum 40 days or will have to pay a fine ranging between Rs 500 to Rs 2,000, officials said.
To calibrate the meter,an autorickshaw driver will have to approach the dealer to revise the calculation of electronic chip in the meter. Once a software upgrades the chip with revised calculation,a driver will have to calibrate the meter with agency,after which the RTO will seal the meter.
The authority has also decided to fix the night charges at 25 per cent over and above the fare. The waiting charges have been kept unaltered at 100 seconds per unit,though the autorickshaw unions have been demanding that it should be brought down to 60 seconds.
The decisionto alter the first stage has not gone down well with the commuters and the autorickshaw owners. A representative of Rickshaw Panchayat,biggest union autorickshaw drivers in the city,said that the rickshaw drivers were unhappy with the decisions taken by the RTA.
We have been maintaining for long that the first stage should be left unaltered at 1 km. No committee set up by the government has recommended that the first stage should be increased from 1 km. Also our long-standing demand to reduce the waiting per unit time from 100 seconds to 60 seconds has not been accepted. We will oppose this move, said a rickshaw owner.
Ashlesha Chatterjee,a student preparing for civil services at Unique Academy,said,Rs 17 as minimum fare is too much. I would prefer to take PMPML bus or walk than to spend that much money for smaller distances.