Taxi and auto rickshaw unions have demanded that their tariff be increased immediately else they will keep off the roads.
The decision was announced on Wednesday, hours before the new CNG rates were to come into effect. Taxis will not buy CNG at the new prices so once their tanks are empty they will not ply. Auto rickshaw drivers will buy CNG at revised rates until June 22 when they plan to meet the state government.
“We have no option but to pass the burden to the consumer. We have submitted a proposal to the state to increase the minimum fare of black-and-yellow cabs from Rs 14 to Rs 16 and from Rs 9 to Rs 11 for every additional kilometer,” Anthony Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said.
The union has demanded that tariff for cool cabs be raised from Rs 17.50 to Rs 20.
“More than 30 per cent of the taxis stopped plying by Wednesday evening,” Quadros said. The union will meet the transport secretary on Thursday morning. Mumbai Automen’s Union Secretary Sharad Rao said the minimum fare should be raised from Rs 9 to Rs 15, failing which auto rickshaw drivers will protest.
“We will consider all the conditions such as CNG hike and demands made by the unions on June 22 before going ahead with any increase in fares,” said Transport Commissioner Dilip Jadhav.
Officials from Mahanagar Gas Limited said they will revise prices periodically depending on input costs and exchange rates because the company’s purchase price is linked to the US dollar. “Though gas cost has increased by more than double, MGL is increasing its selling price of CNG & PNG [piped natural gas] by only 28 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively,” an MGL official said.
The BEST said it is unlikely to hike tariff immediately. “We have to place the proposal before our committee. The issue is then discussed before any final decision,” Om Prakash Gupta, BEST’s general manager, said.