Of the total fleet of call taxis, only 20 to 25 per cent run on petrol and only a very negligible section of call taxis run on LPG.

Public transportation is likely to be hit hard as a result of the “historic and never before” price hike of Rs 5 per litre of diesel.

Interestingly, the setback caused to the sector is likely to have a cascading effect on all other sections pushing the cost of living to a new high. enquiries revealed that 40 per cent of the 10,000 autorickshaws that run on diesel, 65 to 70 per cent of the call taxis that run on the fuel and the operating cost of trucks and buses are likely to spiral beyond manageable proportions.

Kannan of Abi Call Taxi pointed out that call taxi concept was introduced in 2002 with minimum fare at Rs. 30 and Rs. 8 per every km when the diesel price was Rs. 17.50. Left with no other option, the operators twice hiked the minimum fare from Rs. 30 and now it is Rs. 50.

Fearing loss of public patronage, the fare per km was hiked only up to Rs. 12 by some operators and Rs. 14 by others.Initially, hike in prices of fuel had little effect because many operators were running their vehicles with LPG as fuel.

But, those operating on petrol had to bear the brunt because of the frequent hike in prices of petrol. But, now the hike in price of diesel has come to hit call taxi services, which saw no solution in sight.

Of the total fleet of call taxis, only 20 to 25 per cent run on petrol and only a very negligible section of call taxis run on LPG. All the operators have planned to reach a consensus to decide a fare hike that was likely in a couple of days. Call taxi operators required a basic minimum revision in the minimum fare and a marginal hike in the fare per kilometre

Secretary of Coimbatore Lorry Owners Association, K.M. Chinna Thambi said the hike along with taxes would work out to Rs. 6.07 per litre. Trucks with Fully Laden Weight (FLW) would give a mileage of only 4 km per litre. This hike in price of diesel will shoot the operating cost by Rs. 1.50 per km and truck operators would be left with no other option but to hike freight charges.

The hike in charges would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities. However, the truck operators await the decision of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) at New Delhi and the Federation at Namakkal to decide on the further course of action.

Autorickshaw Workers Federation President P.K. Sugumaran said that 40 per cent of the 10,000 odd autorickshaws in the city run on diesel.

The Government fixed a minimum fare of Rs. 14 per km and Rs. 7. per km about 15 years ago. Fuel prices had gone up at least 21 times ever since.

The demand was for Rs 40 as minimum fare and Rs. 20 per kilometre.

A senior Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation official said that hike would further accelerate the quantum of loss suffered by the transport corporations.

After the fare revision, the corporations were only able to reduce the recurring loss and were not able to break even.

The only solace for those travelling by bus was that the State may not opt for another fare revision soon but it would have to absorb the losses incurred, the official further added.

More In: Coimbatore