Chennai inches to dream of meter autos

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In an attempt to find a solution to the decades-old problem of auto drivers fleecing commuters, the state government is contemplating introducing a meter-based billing system which would ensure transparency. The system is likely to be implemented after revision of the base fares.

“We will soon initiate a study for reworking the auto fares,” sources in the transport department said.
“A transparent method will be adopted to solve the unnecessary squabbles between commuters and auto drivers. Passengers would be given automatically generated bills showing the fares at the end of the trip,” they added.

Sources added that the modalities for the fare-meter based billing system would be worked out involving the officials from various departments and agencies, besides specialists from private agencies.

Mr Raj Cherubal of Chennai City Connect, an NGO working on issues concerning the city’s transportation, said that the fare revision should be based on various factors including price of fuel and consumer index prices among others.

“The revision should be a re-workable formula whenever the fuel prices are changed,” said Cherubal.
“The fare should be calculated taking into account the distance travelled and time taken to reach the place. Tariff cards should be affixed in every vehicle so that customers pay the exact fare,” he said.

He added that customers should be able to pick between good and bad operators and hence companies and cooperatives should be allowed in the business.

Auto drivers pointed out that they do not use fare meters as they were not revised according to fuel prices.

“Drivers have to shoulder the burden of increasing fuel prices, hiring charges besides maintenance. Government should revise the fare meters immediately in accordance to the present position,” said M.S. Rajendiran, the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Auto Drivers’ Federation.

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