Karthik Subramanian

Some unions call for meters calibrated for distance

  • Government should have given drivers adequate time to collect them, say autorickshaw unions
  • Six months deadline for autorickshaws in the city to switch to electronic meters

    CHENNAI: A majority of autorickshaw drivers in the city on Thursday were unable to receive the tariff cards released by the Transport authorities. Though the authorities on Wednesday said the cards would be distributed at the Regional Transport Offices, autorickshaw unions have said the government should have given the drivers adequate time to collect them.

    The tariff revision for autorickshaws - Rs.14 for the first two kilometres and Rs.6 for every subsequent km - takes effect Republic Day. The government had issued the order on January 10. However the State Transport Authority was able to print tariff cards - cross-referencing the new tariff against the old - only on Wednesday.

    These cards would help the passengers find out the fare for their travel in a scenario where the autorickshaw meters are not calibrated to the new tariff.

    The Joint Transport Commissioner had told mediapersons on Wednesday that the cards would be distributed through all regional transport offices.

    However autorickshaw unions on Thursday said most auto drivers could not receive the cards. K. Kumar of Goodwill Autodrivers Association said: "The Transport authorities should have set a deadline for autodrivers to collect the cards from the regional transport office. But it is being done in such a hurry and with utter lack of preparation.

    Some autodrivers went to the RTOs but were not able to get the cards." S. Thangam of CITU Auto Drivers Association said it is likely that most autorickshaws in the city would not ply according to the new tariff for the next few days and appealed to passengers to bear with them for some time.

    Distance meters?

    While the government has given a deadline of six months for all autorickshaws in the city to switch to electronic meters, some unions are saying it would be better if the meters are calibrated simply for distance and tariff cards display the rates for distance travelled.

    Similar systems are followed successfully in Mumbai and New Delhi. Mr. Kumar said the current tariff was bound to create problems between drivers and passengers.

    "Under the new tariff system, a passenger travelling 3 kilometres will have to pay Rs.20. (Rs. 14 for first two kms plus Rs.6 for the third km.) Some passengers will surely argue with drivers based on the calculation of Rs.6 for every km. The government should not allow scope for such confusion."

    Tariff cards online

    The tariff cards brought out by the Transport Department is available for download on the government website www.tn.gov.in/sta. There are separate tariff cards for mechanical meters and electronic meters. The tariff card for mechanical meters is also available for download as a PDF format file on The Hindu website www.hindu.com.