Over the next few months, when commuters in the city get into an autorickshaw, not only will they be given a revised tariff card, they will also be able to see the a copy of the vehicle’s permit, the driver’s photograph and his badge number.
Displaying this information in every autorickshaw is part of a transport department plan to make travelling safer for commuters.
While the tariff card will enable commuters to check that the fare corresponds to the distance they have travelled, the permit number and driver’s name will enable them to lodge a complaint in case of malpractices.
All complaints can be called in to the helplines set up by the department.
Once this system comes into place, autorickshaws without permits will not be able to ply in the city, a transport official said.
“We want the system to be holistic. This way, the commuters’ safety is ensure and we can easily keep a check on all autorickshaws plying in the city,” said the official.
Commuters said the plan to display vital details inside every autorickshaw was a welcome measure. “It will make travelling safer and also instil a sense of fear and responsibility in the minds of drivers,” said K. Seethalakshmi, a resident of Velachery who frequently travels by autorickshaw.
However, on Thursday, four days after the meter system was announced, the tariff cards were still not ready, leaving both autorickshaw drivers and commuters confused as to how to go about getting a ride.
Senior transport department officials said the rate cards would be ready in a day and will be distributed to the drivers. “We are planning to finish distributing the cards by the first week of September,” said an official.
“It is hard to calculate the distance and corresponding fares without the rate card. Some commuters were seen carrying printouts of the rate card put up on the transport department website. It’s a mark of how frustrated they are with the current system of haggling,” said a traffic police officer, who part of an awareness drive for autorickshaw drivers about the new rates, conducted in several areas on Thursday.
Traffic police personnel also gave commuters travelling on various arterial roads pamphlets explaining the new system. “The first thing a passenger should do upon entering an autorickshaw is note down the particulars of the driver and vehicle,” said a senior traffic police officer.
Meanwhile, the transport department is going all out to bring out the GPS meters as soon as possible.
“We are deciding on the specifications of the devices. We also need to decide on the manufacturer’s liability, about who will maintain the equipment and training for drivers,” said an official, adding that the department will soon call for the technical and financial bids for the meters.