Parshathy J Nath asks auto drivers why they won’t stick to a metered fare. And they reply that they would, if they could…

“We would all love to go by the metre but everyone has to cooperate. Now the rate in the city is Rs. 40 for the first one-and-half kilometres, which is twice the real rate. But we have no other option because once we get a trip, we do not get a ride on our way back. So this is our only way to compensate for the diesel expense for the return journey. Also, drivers from the auto stands of each locality will not allow outside autos to pick up a passenger there. I am ready to bring down the rate to half, provided stand auto drivers allow me to pick up passengers in their territory.”

Kochu, Ramanathapuram

“For the year 2014, I am planning to quit driving autos and drive goods vehicles instead. I cannot sustain my family with this income because I no longer get enough rides. There are many autos that function illegally without license. And the police are not strict enough while dealing with them.”

I. Francis, near Masonic Hospital, Race Course

“I have been driving autos in Coimbatore for the past 30 years. And there has never been a meter culture in the city. Even the Government has told us to not drive by the metre, unless they give us the permission.”

Nataraj, Annapoorna

“We have filed a petition for fixing the minimum rate at Rs.30 for one and a half kilometre. If the government concedes to that we are ready to stick to metre system in 2014.”

Karuppiah, K.G. Hospital

“The passenger and auto-driver should co-exist in peace, without fighting. The auto drivers should be decent. They should at least stick to Rs. 40 per one and a half kilometre rate and stop over charging.”

N.S Gnanasekaran K.G. Hospital

I think a meter is a boon. It will benefit us. I agree that in the beginning it will be kashtam, but we will get used to it. Auto drivers who have resisted meter fare are those who operate out of profitable areas such as railway station and bus stands. They can dictate the fare now, but once meters come in, it will cut back into their profits. Sadly many of them engage in rowdyism. The benefits of having metered autos will trickle down to the next generation of auto drivers. Hopefully, this year meters will become a reality in Coimbatore.

R. Govindsdwamy,

Race Course