HYDERABAD: Old habits die hard. While professionals, housewives and some women travelling alone have taken to the call taxi services, not everyone is comfortable with cab fares. Elderly persons and those with tight control over their purses still prefer autos to cab services. For instance, S. James Robert, a student, argues that while it costs Rs.7 per kilometre in an autorickshaw, cabs charge anywhere between Rs.12 and Rs.15.
“Moreover the minimum charge in case of an autorickshaw is Rs.12 for 1.6 km. Cab companies charge between Rs. 30 for two km and Rs.80 per four km,” he says. He has a point. While some cab companies can claim to be offering their services at Rs.10 to 12, one has to pay a minimum of Rs.80 once they board any cab of these operators. The per kilometre fare comes into effect only after crossing four kilometres.
“Students like me cannot even afford to take an auto, leave alone cabs,” Robert says. He argues that people would prefer autos if only the drivers collect charges as per government fares. On the other hand, metered cab fare is uniform and standardised. Most importantly it is complied with unlike in the case of autorickshaws where to get an auto driver to switch on the meter requires a great deal of bargaining and cajoling skills apart from occasional verbal spats, observe some.
Some autodrivers say it would not affect their business. They blame their poor public image on a few black sheep and assert that there have been instances where autowallahs have returned forgotten baggage containing valuables.