Taxi drivers have only 20 days to get their electronic meters re-calibrated to display the revised fare. Yet, so far, less than 500 taxis in the city have had their e-meters tweaked.
With effect from March 20, the minimum taxi fare was hiked by one rupee, with a 50 paise hike for every subsequent kilometer.
The transport department had set deadline of May 31 for taxi drivers to have their e-meters recalibrated. However, most are yet to make the adjustment. Of the 41,000 taxis in Mumbai, 20,000 operate with electronic meters. Tardeo RTO, where more taxis are registered than at any other RTO, has seen less than 200 taxis get their meters recalibrated.
"Many days have passed after fare revision, but very few taxi drivers have come to us with calibrated e-meters. We have sealed only 180 calibrated e-meters till date," said a senior RTO official on condition of anonymity.
Electronic meters are sealed by transport authorities to prevent tampering, and taxi drivers have to get the seal removed for recalibration. After that, they have to approach the RTO again for a new seal. RTOs at Wadala and Andheri did not answer HT's query regarding the issue, but an RTO source said that situation at those offices was not any different than that at Tardeo.
Even e-meter repairers are confused. "Till date, hardly four to five taxi drivers have approached us for e-meter calibration," said Bansilal Alag, a meter repairer from Chembur. "They are probably hoping for a fare hike in the coming days."
Taximen's union said that that taxi drivers were unwilling to get the recalibration done as the as transport department had extended the deadline. "The government has extended time for e-meter calibration till the Hakim committee report is implemented," claimed AL Quadros, leader of Mumbai Taximen's Union.
Transport commissioner VN More, however, rebuffed the claim. "No formal decision has been taken about it," he said.