Even as the State transport department gears up to implement the new autorickshaw fares, the drivers express reservations of their own.
The government must take measures to regulate the operation of share autorickshaws, especially Tata Magic and Ape Piaggio vehicles, that operate under the ‘stage carriage’ permit and violate norms, said autorickshaw drivers.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the new announcement of the government. From the stipulated date, we will not charge more than the approved fare. But will the government follow rules governing the operation of share autos?” said 43-year-old K. Nalankilli of Tambaram.
According to autorickshaw drivers, the three-wheeled Ape Piaggio share autos carry 10 passengers apart from the driver, while their capacity is just three plus one. Tata Magic and similar vehicles that are permitted on National Highways alone, as stage coach vehicles, operate as share autos and indulge in overloading, they said.
Alleging a clear bias and deep-rooted prejudice against regular autorickshaws, the drivers said the government had not followed norms when it came to regulation of share autorickshaws.
“I have been driving a hired autorickshaw for the past 25 years. Nearly all my income goes towards repayment of loans. I have not been able to save enough to buy an auto of my own. We will abide by the new fares, but the government should rein in share autorickshaws,” said 53-year-old V. Mani, father of four.