Govt plans call centre for auto-at-doorstep,says its also safe.
Taking autorickshaw travel in the city to the next level,the Delhi government has issued permits to 186 autos with GPS/GPRS integrated fare meters and will be inducting another 50 once they clear the fitness test on Tuesday. And to end the wait for autorickshaws,the Transport department plans to have a call centre which will bring the vehicles to the doorstep of commuters.
We have written to the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd to look into setting up a call centre as they are managing the command control centre which is tracking autos installed with GPS meters. Once the call centre is functional,a person will be able to call and get an auto at his or her doorstep instead of waiting for one on the road, a Transport department official said.
This will also help auto drivers since it will take care of the problem of dead mileage. Most auto drivers drive around for miles before finding a passenger. The auto drivers will be charged for this service, the official said.
Confirming this,Transport Commissioner R Chandramohan said: This is part of a long-term plan that we are looking into.
Under the agreement,each auto-owner is being charged Rs 1,200 per annum as tracking charge. The cost of installing a GPS integrated meter is Rs 13,400. But auto unions are already protesting. I just purchased a new auto. The new fare meter which gives a print of the fare receipt is turning out to be very expensive. I had to pay Rs 13,500 for it, an auto driver said.
To placate the unions,the government has clarified that applicants can approach any empanelled vendor to procure meters as long as the vendor gets the specifications of the GPS equipment approved by the tracking agency DIMTS. Fare meters also need to be certified by the Controller,Weights and Measures.
The allegation against the Transport department is that it has restricted the supply of the GPS/GPRS integrated fare meter to one vendor alone. But auto owners are free to approach any empanelled vendor as long as they meet certain requirements, an official said.
For older autos,the transport department has no immediate plan to change meters. Most autos in the city will need to be replaced soon. These usually have a lifespan of 15 years. The new GPS integrated meters can be installed when these are replaced, the official said.
Chandramohan said: The main advantage of having a GPS integrated meter is from the security perspective. There will also be no dispute as far as the fare amount is concerned.
These meters are supposed to have distress buttons that a passenger can press in case of an emergency. The control room will immediately be alerted in case that happens.
Unions call strike today,DTC to step in
Some auto and taxi unions have decided to go on strike on Tuesday in protest against the steep pricing for installation of GPS integrated fare meters and non-revision of fares. The government has asked the DTC to make arrangements for extra rush of commuters. Transport minister Ramakant Goswami said the DTC will deploy extra buses to railway stations,interstate bus terminals,airport,hospitals etc.