In the past year, the number of complaints registered against errant auto and taxi drivers on the transport department's helpline has come down by nearly half. Transport officials are attributing the decrease to the recent hike in fares, as well as steps such as making electronic meters mandatory, and the regular checks started by them.
According to officials, the regional transport office (RTO) helpline received 2,460 complaints from April to December last year, against 4,470 in the corresponding period in 2011. These include complaints of excess fare, overloading passengers, tampered meters, fare refusals and rude behavior of drivers.
"The fare hike in October could be one of the reasons, which helped in bringing down refusals," said VN More, state transport commissioner.
Another senior official said e-meters have narrowed the scope for tampering. Also, with the exact fare on display, it is not easy for drivers to mislead passengers, the official added.
Consumer activists, however, insist the problem remains. "The problems faced by commuters have changed, not reduced. Now, commuters are fleeced in unauthorised share autos," said Shirish Deshpande, chairman of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.