Demands for increased fares and regulation of share autos plying without route permits echoed at the auto drivers’ token fast on Tuesday.

At the demonstration, organised by Chennai Urban Unorganised Auto Drivers’ Welfare Association, at Valluvar Kottam, the drivers said the base fare for autorickshaws should be increased to Rs. 30, and thereon for every additional kilometre, Rs. 15 should be levied.

At present, the government-decided base fare is Rs. 25 (for 1.8 km) and Rs. 12 per km, thereafter.

“We are ready to operate our autorickshaws with meters, provided, reasonable fares are fixed by the government,” said T. Venkatesan, president of Chennai Urban Unorganised Auto Drivers’ Welfare Association, on Tuesday.

‘Share autos plying without permits’

“Tata Magic share autorickshaws without route permits ply on key routes during busy hours. The government should take steps to regulate these vehicles,” he said.

R. Sivaprakasam, advisor to the Association, said autorickshaw passengers were misusing the SMS complaint registration facility set up by the government.

He said, “Many times, false charges are made against autorickshaw drivers for silly reasons. The authorities should check the veracity of complaints before taking action and should also get the complaint in writing.”

The protesters alleged road transport authorities had seized their vehicles without valid reasons, and took a long time to release them again.

Extend night fare time, say drivers

The other demands made during the protest were the extension of night fare time from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (as against 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., currently) and permission to park at least two autos near every bus stop.

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