Traffic police, transport officials have resumed checks on autos that charge more

After a lull, the Chennai Traffic Police and the Transport department is cracking down on autorickshaw drivers charging more than the meter fares fixed by the State government.

The traffic police along with officials of the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) during a day-long inspection on Saturday impounded 62 autos that overcharged or refused to ply. The inspections were carried out at several places in the city including railway stations, bus stops and commercial complexes.

A senior traffic police official said the joint checking operation with the RTOs, which was stopped because of the general elections, was resumed on Saturday and would be a conducted on a daily basis. While not giving any timeframe, he said the operation would continue “till the autorickshaw drivers comply with the revised auto fares and there are no complaints from customers.” He confirmed that the help lines of the traffic police and the RTOs are buzzing with calls and they would start taking action on these calls also.

The State government revised the auto fares on August 25, 2013 after a gap of six years. According to the revised fare, the cost for the first 1.8 km was Rs. 25 with Rs. 12 charged for every additional kilometre and 50 per cent more than the normal fare during night time. The transport department gave a couple of months for auto drivers to recalibrate the meters with the new fares.

The police department in its bid to identify vehicles without meters or valid documents issued coloured stickers to certify the authenticity of the autorickshaws in addition to launching helplines for the public.

An RTO official in the north zone said that though inspections have begun, the shortage of motor vehicles inspectors was affecting the drive. There are only 60 inspectors in a city that has over 75,000 autorickshaws.

S. Appanu, south Chennai district secretary of CITU, said their union was planning to approach the State government to further revise the tariff. “Since the revision of tariff last year, petrol and gas prices have been hiked three to four times,” he pointed out.

He also wanted the State government to implement fixing of meters with GPS facility to prevent complaints regarding vehicles not plying on certain routes.

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