On October 10, a 60-year-old retired resident who owns a two-wheeler, received a show-cause notice from the Regional Transport Office (RTO), South, for ‘overcharging a passenger in his auto’.
It was then that he found out an autorickshaw using his vehicle’s registration number was plying the city.
This is not the first such incident in the city.
A senior State transport department official said over the past two months, they had nabbed a few autorickshaws with fake registration plates. The vehicle numbers would be handed over to the traffic police for further investigation, he said.
S. Sridhar, the resident of Adyar who got the show-cause notice, said, “The vehicle is in my name but my daughter uses it. I was shocked when I got the notice,” said Mr. Sridhar.
The transport department had sent the notice based on a complaint it had received through e-mail. Mr. Sridhar was asked to give an explanation within seven days upon receiving the notification.
In September, the special flying squad of RTO officials nabbed two autorickshaws that were using fake registration numbers in south Chennai.
Every day, on an average, the transport department receives ten complaints against autorickshaw drivers charging excess fares or using abusive language. A transport department official pointed out that complainants sometimes get the registration number wrong. “Sometimes, the registration number of the autorickshaw in the complaint turns out to be that of a two-wheeler. When we contact the complainant for clarification, he/she says they will be careful the next time,” said the official.
Seals needed on recalibrated meters
With the November 15 deadline for recalibration of meters drawing close, transport department officials claim that only around 42,000 vehicles of the total 70,000-odd registered autorickshaws have got seals from both the RTO and the designated meter mechanics, after recalibration.
“More than 60,000 autorickshaws have recalibrated their meters. But only if they get both the seals will the meter be considered legal,” said the official.
Till date, the 12 RTOs in the city and suburbs have impounded over 3,000 autorickshaws for plying without proper meters.