The Mumbai Autorickshaw-Taximen’s Union (MAU) has sought a Rs2 fare hike for first 1.5km and Rs1 for each subsequent kilometre — 100% more than Ola cabs’ base fare, which is Rs6 per kilometre.
The union led by Shashank Rao, son of veteran union leader Sharad Rao, on Friday demanded Rs20 for first 1.5km and Rs13.56 for subsequent kilometre. He submitted fare calculations as per the Hakim panel formula derived in 2012. Commuters, activists and other auto unions slammed the MAU, one of the largest autorickshaw drivers’ unions, for the unrealistic hike, particularly as passengers prefer using the AC taxis of app-based aggregators instead of conventional ones.
At present, commuters pay Rs18 for first 1.5km and Rs12.18 for each subsequent kilometre. The per kilometre fare of autos is almost double that of Ola cabs.
Rao said that the union raised their demand as the government did not give them a fare hike suo moto. “They (aggregators) can afford to lose money, but we cannot. We have to run our household,” said Rao. Varsha Raut, consumer activist, said the cheaper fare offered by app-based aggregators proves that the Hakim panel’s hike is steep and unjustified. Other unions stated the demand will help taxi aggregators flourish. “Over 80% of autorickshaw drivers in Mumbai are happy with the present fare. They are aware that the new hike will go against them,” said Rajendra Desai, general secretary of Maharashtra Rickshaw Chalak Sena.
Fearing a setback, taxi unions restrained themselves from demanding a fare hike this year.
According to the Hakim panel, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority should review autorickshaw fares annually. If the fare hike is more than Rs0.50 per kilometre according to the formula, it should be granted.
RTO sources said they had calculated the hike as per the formula and kept it ready to present to the MMRTA in the May 31 meeting. But as no union had raised the demand of a fare hike, it was kept aside.