Anyone with a ration card can pay a fee of Rs.385 and apply for an autorickshaw permit to the Transport Department, as per the new norms for the permits that will come into force shortly.
Following the announcement in the Assembly that the issuing of autorickshaw permits would be liberalised, Transport Minister K.N.Nehru said, “A Government Order amending the rules will be issued within the next couple of days.”
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of an event organised to flag off six new bus servicess from Ekkaduthangal on Wednesday, Mr.Nehru said, “Autorickshaw unions want the ‘open' permit to be granted only to drivers. Such categorisation will only lead to a new type of control. A meeting will be organised with the unions shortly to sort out differences.”
As attempts to regulate autorickshaw trip fares have failed, he said, competition among drivers would be employed to bring in regulation.
Launching the new bus routes, Mr. Nehru announced that the mini-bus scheme would be inaugurated by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in three months. “Tamil Nadu has the highest number of two-wheelers in the country. Connecting mini-bus services to the nearest depots will boost the patronage of public transport,” he said.
The six new bus routes are K18cut (Ekkaduthangal - Broadway via Saidapet), M10E (Ekkaduthangal - Broadway via T.Nagar), M21GExt (Ekkaduthangal - Broadway via Kotturpuram), M154E (Ekkaduthangal - Vellavedu), M88E (Ekkaduthangal - Kundrathur) and 554B (Ekkaduthangal to Sunguvarchatram).
As the patronage of MTC buses has increased from 33 lakh to 55 lakh in the past four years, Mr.Nehru said there was a need for 5,000 buses to meet the demand. The MTC's fleet strength of 3,300 buses would hopefully be increased to 4,000 by the year-end, he added.
Mayor M.Subramanian said that most interior localities in Saidapet rely on Ekkaduthangal for transit. “All inter-city buses will also have to stop in the Ekkaduthangal bus stop,” he added.