Fare for first 1.8 kilometres is Rs. 25 and for every additional kilometre is Rs.12. Autos to also be fitted with GPS meters, electronic digital printers and panic buttons

Six years after the previous revision of autorickshaw fare and umpteen increases in fuel prices, the State government on Sunday unveiled a new tariff structure which translated into around 75 per cent hike in minimum fare.

The fare for the first 1.8 kilometres is Rs. 25 and Rs. 12 for every additional kilometre.

The new fare structure came into force on Sunday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in a release.

This would be applicable to 71,470 vehicles in Chennai.

The revision came in the light of the Supreme Court’s direction last month to the State government to fix the new autorickshaw fares within four weeks, taking into account all the relevant factors. As for “late night (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) charges”, the fare would be 50 per cent higher than the normal rate. “Earlier, late night charges were applicable between 10 p.m and 5 a.m, said a transport department official.

The government also announced that the waiting charges would hereafter be Rs. 3.50 for every five minutes and Rs. 42 for an hour. The previous rate was Rs.10 for ten minutes.

Drivers of the vehicles have to reset their meters by October 15, the official said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also announced that the State government would spend Rs. 80 crore to install meters fitted with GPS facility and electronic digital printers. The meters would also have provision for panic button, which the passengers could press in case of an emergency and the police will immediately come to the rescue of the commuter.

The authorities would set up a helpline number to handle complaints related to autorickshaws. The number will be pasted on vehicles prominently, said the official

The Chief Minister also made it clear that permits of autorickshaw drivers would be cancelled if they charge more than the revised fares. Their vehicles would also be seized.

Meanwhile, autorickshaw drivers have welcomed the move. “Our long fight has yielded results,” said J. Seshasayanam, general secretary of the Madras Metro Auto Drivers Association.

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