Very few people in Mumbai have had the good fortune of seeing their salaries double in the past five years. But believe it or not, the daily earnings of auto drivers have definitely doubled in the same duration.
The Mumbai's autorickshaw fare, which was just Rs 9 for the minimum distance and Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometre travelled before June 2010, is set to become Rs 18 for minimum distance and Rs 12 for every subsequent kilometre travelled, coming June 2015.
With this tariff revision, the basic fare for compressed natural gas (CNG)-run autorickshaws will go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18, and that of taxis will go from Rs 21 to Rs 22, for a minimum distance of 1.5 km. The hike per subsequent km will go up from the existing Rs 11.33 to Rs 12.18 for CNG auto rickshaws, and from Rs 13.96 to Rs 14.84 a km for taxis.
Meanwhile, authorities have failed to curb the rampant practice of fare refusal in the city. The latest fare hike is likely to lead to a tussle between auto drivers and commuters, as the latter are not expected to pay revised fares till auto drivers recalibrate the electronic meters in their vehicles.
Transport expert AV Shenoy said that the earlier autorickshaw and taxi fare hike was imposed because of the hike in fuel price. In the new Hakim panel formula that is used to fix autorickshaw taxi fares, the fuel component is only 20%, while other parameters such as living cost amounts to 80%.
“The gap between the taxi and auto fare is rapidly narrowing. With this trend, auto fare will become more than that of taxis, though passengers won’t get the same comfort and safety in autos,” he said, adding people will prefer to switch to two-wheelers, if auto fare keep rising.
Consumer activist Varsha Raut said, “The Hakim panel has made a blunder. Parameters considered by the committee were fundamentally flawed, and we have challenged it in the high court.”