Refusing fare or tampering with meters just became more difficult for autorickshaw and taxi drivers.
The Regional Transport Offices (RTOs), have temporarily suspended driving licences of at least 45 taxi and autorickshaw drivers, against whom complaints had been lodged by passengers using the new helpline number.
The licences have been suspended for anywhere between seven and 10 days depending on the nature of the complaint.
A fine of Rs 600 can also be levied on these drivers. Of the three RTOs in Mumbai — Tardeo, Andheri and Wadala — most complaints have come from western suburbs.
“The response from passengers using this help line has been good as on an average we get 50 calls a day,” said V. Pandkar, RTO officer. The complaints are mainly lodged when a driver refuses a fare, charges more than the tariff mentioned, if meters are fast or if drivers behave rudely with commuters.
“The drivers can be suspended if they refuse fare even if the meter is up. It becomes a problem for drivers having electronic meters and so we have asked the Transport department to allow display of open/closed board near the windscreen so that people know whether the taxi is available or not,” said A. Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taxi Union.
The RTO has also created a separate register called Wanted Note where they are noting details of drivers who don’t appear before the RTO even after receiving postal intimation. This note will help RTOs identify those drivers who had ignored their appeal to personally explain the reason for the complaint.
“We will be able to catch the driver when he approaches us months later with other work like the renewal of driving license or payment of taxes, and then take him to task. We can then levy a fine apart from suspension of driving licence,” said an RTO officer.