Autorickshaw drivers on Tuesday sought a revision in minimum fare from Rs. 17 to Rs. 24. They also demanded an increase in the per km fare from Rs. 12 to Rs. 16.

The demand was made at the meeting of the Regional Transport Authority chaired by Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash. Fifty autorickshaw drivers and office-bearers of five autorickshaw unions participated in the meeting. Hanmanth Kamath from Mangalore Nagarika Hitarakshana Vedike was the lone voice representing autorickshaw commuters.

Raising the issue, Ivan D’Souza, president of the Mangalore City Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said autorickshaw fare had not been revised in the past 14 months when the rate of LPG went up by Rs. 8. Most of the 5,000-odd autorickshaws in the city were running on LPG. The minimum fare should be revised to Rs. 24 and per km rate should be Rs. 16, he said.

General secretary of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Autorickshaw Chalakara Sangha B. Vishnumurthy said the minimum autorickshaw fare was Rs. 17 while it was Rs. 20 in Udupi. Frequent increase in the price of petroleum products, more so of LPG, had been hitting the drivers hard. There was a need to provide LPG at a subsidised rate for autorickshaw drivers.

Autorickshaw driver Prakash V.N. spoke about the problem related to recalibration of meter. He said drivers had to spend Rs. 300, including Rs. 100, on recalibration of meter for the rate fixed in October. Mr. Prakash sought reduction in the charge imposed by the Weights and Measures Department.

Though agreeing with the need for fare revision, Mr. Kamath said the fare sought by autorickshaw drivers were at a higher side and would affect the poor and middle-class. Mr. Kamath said the authority could fix the minimum fare at Rs. 20 and per km fare at Rs. 12.

Mr. Prakash said the authority would shortly announce the minimum fare.