They want recently announced auto tariffs to be revised and share-autos regulated

These self-styled kings of the Chennai roads might have welcomed the new tariff system introduced by State government without much hubbub, but the recent increase in petrol and diesel prices is likely to put commuters at their mercy again.

Autorickshaw drivers operating on East Coast Road and Rajiv Gandhi Salai (better known as OMR) now say the hike in the prices of fossil fuels has rendered the new tariff unviable.

They want the State government to revise the new rates, factoring in the fuel hikes.

“We welcome the tariff system, but the Government should increase the rates. Petrol prices has gone up by Rs. 2.35 a litre and diesel by 50 paise a litre. The government is adding to our misery. It should either rollback the hike or increase the tariffs,” said S. Manohar, an auto-driver on East Coast Road.

Turning their ire at the share-autos plying on ECR and OMR, these auto drivers have demanded that they be regulated.

“The Transport Department should undertake strict measures to regulate the share-autos plying on ECR and the IT Corridor, which do not have proper permits. The share-auto drivers are supposed to use the meters, but at present they operate on ticket-basis. They have permits similar to regular auto-drivers and are not supposed to take more than three passengers. But, they board 10 people at a time,” Manohar said.

They are also responsible for creating traffic bottlenecks during peak hours on the ECR and OMR, he added.

Most share-auto drivers are from Tindivanam, Thiruvanamalai and Vellore and ply here on other district permits.

The Tata Magic and Travels Maxi Cab, which should ply as tourists share-autos, operate as regular share-autos.

Blaming share-autos for causing accidents on the stretch, Manohar said: “They do not look at the road and drive. Always on the lookout for more passengers, the hit the break suddenly and stop wherever they please.”

Meanwhile, the share-auto drivers expressed unhappiness over the tariff system and said it will have an impact on their livelihood. Passengers depend on us for travel during peak hours, hence, regulating share-autos will affect the public, they added. “If we were to operate on meters, share-autos will run empty.

Ticket-basis works the best for share-autos. It is very difficult to abide by the meter and permit rules and regulations,” said Azhagan, a share-auto driver on OMR.

Meanwhile, transport department sources have assured that share auto drivers will be prevented from overloading their vehicles.

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