Expert suggests ways to make auto fare in T.N. remunerative for drivers

Taxi aggregators enjoyed were at an advantage over autorickshaw drivers as the time factor was built into the fare mechanism.

Taxi aggregators enjoyed were at an advantage over autorickshaw drivers as the time factor was built into the fare mechanism. | Photo Credit: S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

With the State government planning to revise the autorickshaws fares that was long overdue, activists want certain factors to be considered before finalising the rates.

Pointing out that the authorities concerned carried out fare revision as a ritual, the activists said it should be done in such a away that it would be a win-win deal for autorickshaw drivers as well as the commuters.

P. Mahalingam, who has done extensive research on autorickshaw operations, has come out with a working sheet determining the bare minimum that a driver had to earn daily. In his doctoral thesis, Mr. Mahalingam has found that the transport authorities only focussed on “minimum per kilometre rate” while revising the fare leaving out the duration of the trip. Of course, the fuel price increase was a different issue. This minimum fare determined whether the autorickshaw ride would be available to the commuter’s place of choice.

Taking into consideration the cost of the vehicle, fuel price, hours of work and minimum number of trips, the report fixes ₹2,100 as the minimum earning daily for the autorickshaw driver. However, Mr. Mahalingam said until these factors were not considered, particularly the duration of a trip, the auto driver would not find it viable to continue in business.

Pointing out the advantage that the taxi aggregators enjoyed as the price of the duration of a ride was built into the fare determining mechanism and the surge pricing, Mr. Mahalingam said the auto drivers had to negotiate with the customers hard for a higher fare.

The transport activists said the State Transport Authority officials failed to rein in the taxi aggregators with regard to the “exorbitant fare” charged under the garb of surge pricing.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 7:27:35 pm |