With the transport authority issuing four tariff cards for autorickshaws and taxis, confusion and arguments with drivers have become a part of most people’s daily commute.
And with several drivers carrying a fifth card, there is a growing demand that the transport authorities make it mandatory for them to display the authentic fare in their vehicles.
Transport activists said the solution was present in the government’s rules for issuing permits. Rule number 14 of the contract carriage permit makes it mandatory that the card be put up behind the driver’s seat if the meter doesn’t show the exact fare.
“Transport authorities need to enforce the rule,” said Shirish Deshpande, chairperson, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
Experts said the authorities should direct drivers to display the specific card depending on the meters. This is necessary because the transport department officials are not sure whether it would be possible to recalibrate all meters within 45 days. Officials said the process would take up to three months.
However, hassled commuters are looking for some quick action. “Many drivers are demanding old night charges as revised fare. When we show them the card available with us, they say it is bogus. It’s creating lots of confusion,” said Amit Iyer, 28, software engineer and Mulund resident.
Consumer activist Mohammad Afzal said the driver’s photo ID and vehicle number should also be displayed.
Transport authorities are reluctant to issue a directive. VN More, transport commissioner, said, “Our efforts are to do away with tariff cards by recalibrating meters. The drivers should should produce the card on demand. Commuters should check if it is for e-meter or mechanical one.”
Move can put an end to bogus cards
Different tariff cards have been issued by transport authorities for mechanical and electronic meters. This means there are four different tariff cards— two each for autos and taxis.
As it is difficult for commuters to carry four tariff cards, transport authorities can make auto and taxi owners display the right cards prominently in their vehicles.
Even if commuters carry cards, disputes arise with the drivers claiming that they are bogus. Making it mandatory to display the authentic card would solve this problem as well. This will also prevent drivers from using fake cards.
Rule no 14 of contract carriage permit given to taxis and rickshaws makes it mandatory to display the tariff card if the meter does not show the exact fare.