The transport department, which had recently formed special teams to nab erring autorickshaw drivers, has impounded nearly 100 autorickshaws in different parts of the city.
“Nearly 90 per cent of these drivers were overcharging and not carrying proper documents. The rest were impounded for refusing a trip and violating other norms. The drive will continue,” said a senior transport department official.
During a check by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) south team in Palavakkam, an autorickshaw which was using a fake registration number was seized. “When we checked our database, we found the number was registered to a car under the Tiruvallur RTO. We have asked the driver to produce the original documents,” said the official.
There are over 70,000 autorickshaws plying the city. In August, the State government revised the autorickshaw fares to Rs. 25 for the first 1.8 kilometre and Rs. 12 for every additional kilometre. It was announced the drivers would get the rate cards by September 15 and get their meters recalibrated by October 15.
Though the department claims to have distributed nearly 50,000 rate cards, most of the autorickshaws do not seem to be using it. “Earlier they were charging Rs. 50 for two kilometres, but now they are charging Rs. 35. However, they do not use the meters or show us the rate cards,” said S. Muthulakshmi, a resident of Somu Nagar in Medavakkam.
Autorickshaw drivers claim many of them are not able to get the cards as the vehicles are owned by someone else. “Many autorickshaws have changed hands before coming to us. The vehicle documents, however, continue to be in the name of the original owners. We cannot get the rate cards and new meters unless the original owner comes in person to collect them and signs the name transfer document,” said an autorickshaw driver, who has recalibrated his meter.