The government's order to install speed limiters in autorickshaws has applied a brake on innovative public transport programmes. Services such as ‘tuk-tuk’ service, Autocall and the all-women 'pink autorickshaws' launched by private players have been hit.
“The administration told us to install speed limiters, which cost Rs 9,000. How can poor drivers pay such a huge fee? The gadgets should be supplied at subsidised rates,” said Rajesh Pradhan, president, Pink Autorickshaws’ Union.
The expansion plans for ‘tuk-tuk’ and the ‘Blue Autocall’ were likely to happen by December this year, but it has been stalled. “We wanted to buy 20 more vehicles within a month but we are unable to go ahead due to confusion on installing speed-limiters,” said Vineet Goel, owner of Blue Autocall. “We are not clear about the cost of each gadget, or whether they will be given at subsidised rates.”
Sulabh Mehra of ‘radio tuk-tuk’ service said they were planning to increase their fleet but to no avail. “Apart from the cost issue, we have to be clear about the number of speed limiters and take the future expenditure into account,” said Mehra.
The traffic department, however, is serious about enforcing the rule. “We won’t allow anyone to break the law. If someone is not following rules, they will be punished under the Indian Motor Act,” said Bharti Arora, DCP (traffic).
On April 19, over 15,000 drivers went on strike, after fines were imposed on them for not installing speed-limiters.
Safer pink autos
Every ‘pink autorickshaw’ will carry a detailed strip mentioning the particulars of the driver, the vehicle’s owner and police helpline numbers.
Transport experts say it is a big step towards passengers’ safety. Seven pink autorickshaws at Huda City Centre Metro station and 12 at MG Road Metro station will be installed with these strips.
This initiative came after several complaints of eve-teasing were filed by women passengers. This will help prevent such cases in future.