Updated: October 16, 2021 6:32:50 pm
Travelling in auto-rickshaws will become more costly from November 8 as Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has revised the fare chart for three seater rickshaws in the light of increasing fuel prices. Now, autorickshaws will charge Rs 20 for the first 1.5 km instead of 18 and Rs 13 for every subsequent km instead of the prevailing rate of Rs 12.
In its meeting held on October 12, the RTA headed by District Collector revised the fares for Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Baramati jurisdictions. The fare hike comes six years after the previous revision in 2015.
Pune Regional Transport Officer Ajit Shinde, who also serves as Member-Secretary of RTA said that the decision by RTA was taken on the recommendations given by the Khatua committee report. Although a fare hike proposal had come up last year, it was kept in abeyance after autorickshaw drivers’ unions said that it would be improper to increase fare in the midst of the pandemic.
The proposal was again taken up this week, following demands of a fare hike owing to the rise of Rs 4 per kg of CNG in the past few days, including the latest hike of Rs 2 per kg on Thursday.
Apart from this increase in per kilomtre fare, 25 per cent additional night service charges will be applicable for fares between 12 midnight and 5 am in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Baramati jurisdiction. In the rest of the district, a 40 per cent night service charge will be applicable. Also, passengers travelling along with luggage will have to pay Rs 3 per luggage bag of 60 by 40 centimetres.
RTO Shinde said that autorickshaw drivers must recalibrate their metres by December 31.
“Only those who have recalibrated the metres as per new fares will be able to charge passengers as per the revised rates. Those operating with uncalibrated metres will have to charge as per the old rates,” said Shinde who added that if the drivers fail to make the necessary changes in the fare meter even after the deadline they will ace penalties.
Rickshaw Panchayat, the biggest union of autorickshaws in the city, is not happy with the revised fare structure. Nitin Pawar, Convenor of Panchayat, said it was a too little a hike considering the increasing CNG prices.
“It looks like a joke to us. Autorickshaw drivers in Pune don’t ask for a fare hike too often. In fact, we had requested the postpone the hike proposal last year due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation and the lockdown. What they had given us -Rs 80-90 paisa per km is nothing as compared to the increase in fuel price hike. In fact, during the last one week when the proposal was being discussed, the CNG price went up by Rs 4/kilo,” said Pawar.
Shrikant Acharya of Aam Aadmi Rickshaw Union said that the union will meet the RTO and the District Collector to demand an explanation.
“In last few years, the price of CNG has gone up by 37 per cent, price of lubricant has gone up by 50 per cent, price of an auto-rickshaw has gone up by over 70 per cent. The annual inflation index shows that the family expenditure is more than ever. In such a situation, a 6.6 per cent hike is close to nothing. As per Section 66D of the Motor Vehicles Act, the financial viability of the service and well being of the permit holder is the responsibility of the government. By giving such a small hike, it appears that the authorities want to do away with the autorickshaws from Pune,” said Acharya.
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