All black and yellow cabs will have to be fitted with electronic meters by the end of August 2013 if the state government adopts recommendations of the Hakim panel, appointed to derive a new fare-hike formula for autorickshaws and taxis.
In its report submitted to the state government on July 27 this year, the Hakim panel suggested making e-meters mandatory for all taxis plying in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane before August 2013.
The panel also asked the state to stick to the April 2013 deadline for installation of e-meters in autorickshaws. It suggested a December 2013 deadline for the rest of Maharashtra, for installation of e-meters in taxis and autorickshaws.
Presently, there are more than 40,000 taxis and around 1.5 lakh autorickshaws in the city, of which around 25 taxis and around 10,000 autos have been fitted with e-meters.
The transport department has made e-meters mandatory for all autorickshaws from April 2012, whereas in case of taxis, e-meters are mandatory only for new ones.
“The panel has insisted that the transport department will have to ensure that erring taxis and autorickshaws should not be allowed to ply after the deadline,” said a transport department official.
“The Hakim panel has given more provisions than what taxi and auto drivers might have been expecting, therefore now they should at least try to do their business sincerely without cheating passengers,” saidd a senior transport department official.
The panel, which was appointed on April 13, 2012, has also recommended some changes in e-meters.
“After the minimum distance is covered, the reading should change every 100 meters,” says the report. The panel also suggested that the electronic meters should be recalibrated within a period of 45 days once the fare revision takes place.
According to the new formula suggested by the panel, the basic fare for 1 km for autorickshaws and taxis will be Rs 10.15 and Rs 13.08 respectively.
If state government accepts the panel report, the fare would be Rs 15 (autorickshaws) and Rs 20 (taxis) for a minimum distance of 1.5 kilometre after rounding off.
Presently, the minimum fare for autorickshaws and taxis is Rs 12 and Rs 17 respectively.