OTHERS

Digital meters make everyone feel good

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. Good times are here for the autorickshaw commuters. They need not indulge in verbal duel with the autorickshaw drivers. For, some of the autorickshaws in the city have digital meters.

All the new autorickshaws come fitted with the digital meters that let you know the distance travelled and the fare at any point of time.

The tamper-proof meters also calculate the waiting charges and shift to the special night rate at 10 p.m.. "Earlier, I could change the wheel of the mechanical meter by paying Rs. 30 to my mechanic and make 20 per cent profit," said Thimmegowda, whose autorickshaw is fitted with the digital meter. Mr. Thimmegowda is losing money.

"But I used to end my day with at least half a dozen quarrels. Now that is gone. What is good for my commuter is good for me," he says. Those hiring the new autorickshaws cannot complain that the drivers take a detour. The distance covered is there for everyone to see.

A couple who travelled from a garment store near Trinity Circle to a diagnostic centre on Infantry Road on Wednesday was surprised that the digital meter charged them only Rs. 15.

They used to pay about Rs. 18 earlier. While some commuters prefer to travel in autorickshaws with digital meters, the drivers of other autorickshaws take "pride" in the good old mechanical meters. "They are like HMT watches. Always reliable," said one. The reason is not far to seek.

They can be easily tampered with. Also, the digital meters cost Rs. 2,500 as against Rs. 1,500 for the mechanical ones.