Transport authorities have come down heavily on autorickshaws and taxis that have not displayed the new tariff cards in their vehicles. Subsequently, drivers’ unions have started looking for different methods by which they can adhere to the rule.
Over the past two days, around 137 cases have been registered against auto and taxi drivers who have no displayed tariff cards by the three Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in the city. While 80 cases were registered in the eastern suburbs, 42 were registered in the western suburbs and 15 in the island city.
The transport officials have been levying a fine of Rs600 on autos and taxis that do not have the new rate card. In addition to this, the offenders’ permits have been suspended for ten days. For autos and taxis that do have their cards, but haven't displayed them prominently, the penalty is Rs100, the same as for a petty offence.
The RTOs’ action comes on the heels of consistent reports by HT on commuter woes following the October 11 tariff hike.
“We have already asked our members to display the card behind the driver’s seat. We will also hold camps from Monday onwards, at which we will ask drivers to stitch the laminated card to the seat cover,” said AL Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union. “We are expecting around 3,000-4,000 to participate on the first day.”
However, auto unions still seemed fairly reluctant to display the card, citing logistical issues.
“There are practical problems with sticking the tariff card behind the driver’s seat. It may get spoiled or torn,” said Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary, Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union. “We are, however, asking drivers to display it prominently. Simultaneously, we are pushing members to change their mechanical meters to e-meters and to recalibrate old meters, so that the tariff issue is permanently resolved.”
The Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union plans to use tariff card stickers that can be pasted behind the driver’s seat. “The sticker prototype has been given to transport authorities for approval,” said Thampi Kurien, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union.