The transport department has finally decided to roll out its ambitious scheme of installing global positioning system (GPS) instruments in the city’s auto-rickshaws.
Delhi transport commissioner RK Verma said the department will start installing the system in 60,000-odd auto-rickshaws from May 1 this year.Verma said the annual fitness certificate will only be issued to auto-rickshaws that will have GPS instruments.
“It is now mandatory for each auto-rickshaw to have the GPS instrument. We have added new clauses dealing with GPS instrument in permit conditions for auto-rickshaws. We will not issue fitness certificate to these vehicles unless they have this instrument installed. Failing to have GPS can also lead to cancellation of permit,” Verma said.
Senior transport officials said GPS-enabled auto-rickshaws will not only make travelling by auto-rickshaws safer, it will also help deal with problems like overcharging and refusal to ply.
In a system currently available with radio taxis, the passengers will be able to call an auto-rickshaw by making a phone call once the system is installed in all vehicles.
“We are setting up a call centre, which will keep track of the movement of each auto-rickshaw through GPS. There will also be a two-way communication system between the auto-rickshaw and the call centre,” Verma said.
Though autorickshaw unions have been demanding that cost of the instrument be borne by the transport department, Verma said autorickshaw operators will have to bear the cost.
“When the auto fare was revised last June last, the government had earlier decided to increase the fare to R6 per kilometre. It was increased to R6.50 per kilometre with the condition that operators will save this additional 50 paise per kilometre for the next six months and then utilise this money in bearing the instrument’s cost,” said Verma.
“There is no way the government will bear the instrument cost and its recurring cost,” Verma added. Officials said auto-rickshaw operators have collected more than R16 crore till date from the additional 50 paise per kilometre they charge passengers.
A GPS costs about R15,000 and the auto-rickshaw operators will have pay the R1,250 per month to the transport department for the instrument.
Once the system is in place, each autorickshaw will have to pay about R800 per month towards operating expenses of the instrument and operating expenses of the call centre, officials said.
“We will have GPS in all auto-rickshaws in next one year. The passengers will be able to have all the facilities and benefits of GPS after one year,” Verma said.