The Meter Jam campaign seems to have nudged the traffic police to fine taxi and autorickshaw drivers who refuse fare.
The latest figures obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) query by activist Chetan Kothari reveal the number of taxis and auto drivers fined for fare refusals are the highest since 2005. Registering a significant rise in fining errant drivers, the traffic police are cracking the whip to see that passengers aren’t refused short-distance fares.
This year, 5,504 taxi drivers were fined for refusing fares while 7,331 auto-rickshaw drivers were fined. Compare this to figures registered in the last five years.
In 2005, a total of 553 taxis and 1,292 autos were fined. In 2006, the figures registered a slight increase to 1,853 and 2,031 respectively, while 2007 saw 3,100 taxis and 3,108 rickshaws fined. The figures from 2008 onwards show a drastic rise in the number of drivers fined.
Total of 5,445 taxi drivers and 5,410 auto drivers were fined.
Similarly in 2009, 4,833 taxi drivers and 5,710 automen were fined for refusing fares. Officials said they are on an overdrive to crack down on drivers refusing fares.
“Rules have always been in place, but the implementation was lacking. This year, the complaints by passengers, along with a Meter Jam campaign, made us to sit up and take notice of the issue,” said Brijesh Singh, additional commissioner of police (traffic). He added that conducting such drives alone cannot be an answer to the larger issue of fare refusals.
“We are hoping that through this drive, there is more discipline in the drivers and a sense of responsibility and awareness about their rights in the citizens too.” Skeptics, however, said like many, this drive too will fizzle out soon. A senior official requesting anonymity said: “The implementation of such drives needs resources. Even as we conduct this drive, the truth is that certain parts of our functioning suffers, as all our resources are concentrated at this drive.” Singh, however, allays the fears.