Working towards making the lives of commuters in Indore easier, the regional transport office (RTO) is finalising plans to make electronic meters in auto-rickshaws compulsory in the city.
More than 10,000 auto-rickshaws in the city have been running with old meters, which are often not calibrated properly, thereby leading to frequent arguments between drivers and passengers.
According to the RTO, once calibrated and sealed, electronic meters cannot be tampered with.
“We have stopped giving permits to new autos unless it has a digital meter. We will also ensure that old meters of all the existing autos are replaced with digital meters in a time-bound manner. The RTO is coordinating with the traffic police officials to prepare a blueprint for executing the plan,” deputy transport commissioner (Indore division) Sanjay Soni told HT.
The district administration has launched a new campaign ‘Bhaiya meter se hi chalenge’ (I will only pay by the meter) from November 1 in a bid to bring an end to the practice of the charging of arbitrary rates by the auto drivers. The district administration is also putting up hoardings publicizing the campaign through social media and FM radio. A toll-free number 1073 has also been set up where people can lodge complaints against erring auto-rickshaw drivers.
“Initially, we will just urge and encourage the autorickshaw drivers to go by the meter, but we will take penal action at a later date,” collector P Narhari said.
However, one of the problems of the campaigns is that the new fare structure could go for a toss the next time there is a fuel price hike. “Drivers have always refused to use the meters all these years, and the government has failed to update and fix the auto fare in a dynamic fashion. Let’s see how the new initiative works,” said Pradeep Ramani, a consumer rights activist.
The auto-rickshaw drivers in the city are also wary of competition from the new entrant ‘Jugnoo.’ The tele-auto charges according to the distance travelled and the distance is computed via the GPS. The application automatically tracks the distance of the ride and sends the calculated fare to the passenger via a SMS.