Taxi, auto fares hiked by Rs 2, but pay only if meter’s recalibrated

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 13 Agustus 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Auto and taxi fares in the city will go up from Wednesday, with the minimum tariff being hiked by Rs 2.

The Bombay high court on Tuesday gave its nod for the increase in fares, but made it clear that only vehicles that recalibrate their electronic meters to reflect the new fares would be allowed to charge the revised rates. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar has directed the state to take action against auto and taxi drivers who attempt to charge the increased fares without getting their meters recalibrated.

Ruling that the hike was a policy decision taken by the state, the HC dismissed a plea by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat seeking an interim stay on the move.

According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority, the minimum auto fare for the first 1.5km will be raised to Rs 17 from Rs 15, and for every subsequent km, it will increase to Rs 11.33, up from Rs 9.87. In case of taxis, the minimum fare will go up to Rs 21 from Rs 19, and for every km thereafter, the charge will increase to Rs 13.96 instead of the earlier Rs 12.35.

The Bombay high court on Tuesday gave its nod for a Rs-2 hike in minimum auto and taxi fares, saying, "By no stretch of imagination can it be said it (the decision to increase fares) was arbitrary or an abuse of power."

It, however, rejected taxi unions' plea that pending recalibration of meters, they be allowed to charge the new fare by showing revised rate cards. "If autos and taxis are permitted to charge higher fares without recalibration, the very object of introducing electronic meters will be frustrated," the bench said, adding, "It will benefit members of the public, prevent fleecing and curb illegalities and malpractices."

Taxi union leader A L Quadros, however, wasn't pleased with the tariff hike, saying the minimum fare of Rs 21 will lead to "loose change" problems. "Commuters will pay only Rs 20, saying they don't have Re 1," he said.

Acting transport commissioner Satish Sahasrabudhe told TOI that RTOs across the Mumbai region would have to work on holidays and weekends to meet the 45-day deadline for recalibration. To replace the chip in their e-meters, drivers must visit only approved meter repair shops. "They will then have to take their meters to approved testing agencies. Once the agencies give their clearance, the meters will be sealed and brought to the RTO for road test. If we find any discrepancy, we will ask the auto/taxi owner to go through the entire process again," he said.

The penalty for any delay in recalibration is between Rs 50 and Rs 500 a day. Drivers caught charging passengers the new fare without recalibration could be fined Rs 500 and/or have his permit/badge and licence suspended for 15 days, an official said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=taxi fare,Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority,auto fare


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