Special Correspondent

TIRUCHI: While autorickshaw trade unions in the city continue to resist attempts to enforce the fare metre system, the district administration and Transport officials were making concerted attempts to introduce a pre-paid fare system at the Tiruchi Railway Junction.

A team of representatives of autorickhaw unions from here have already visited Chennai to study the system being followed there and explore the possibility of replicating it here. According to sources, representatives of the autorickshaw plying out of the Railway Junction have agreed to the introduction of the system at a meeting convened by the Regional Transport Officer, Tiruchi, M. Natarajan, here on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by representatives of various unions and consumer organisations of the city. Collector T.Soundiah is the chairman of the District Traffic Advisory Committee.

However, the system would be based on a fixed fare card to be finalised as autorickshaw unions in the city were demanding that the minimum rate be increased to at least Rs.20 from the current government fixed rate of Rs.14.

Sources said the unions had been asked to come up with a fare card forvarious destinations from the Railway Junction. The rate card would be finalised at the next round of meeting to be held shortly. A computerised booth is planned to be established at the Junction for issue of the pre-paid slips to commuters.

M.Sekaran, Convenor, Federation of Service Organisations, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, stressed the consumers’ demand for the pre-paid system to prevent exploitation.

Secretary of Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, S.Pushpavanam, in a representation to the RTO, objected the move to fix a higher fare than the rates prescribed by the government. Though a five to 10 per cent increase over the government prescribed rates could be allowed, no attempt should be made to double the minimum fare under the pre-paid system.

Doubts raised

He also expressed doubts on whether autorickshaw drivers would adhere to the fares fixed under the system. For instance, drivers may contend that the rates fixed were only up to the main roads and not to interior areas of a colony.

Drivers should be made to obtain the signature of the passenger, after dropping him at his destination, and collect their fare on submission of the slip at the booth on their return, he said.