The state transport department has recovered nearly Rs93 lakh as revenue through penalties and taxes from auto-rickshaws and taxis between September 15 and December 31, 2011.
Penalties accounted for a major component of this revenue. The five regional transport offices (RTOs) at Tardeo, Wadala, Andheri, Panvel and Thane inspected 4,305 taxis and 19,696 autos during the period and found 1,097 taxis and 4,657 auto-rickshaws guilty of various offences.
"Our flying squad had initiated action against errant auto and taxi drivers in September. Action against typical offenders would bring about a change in the entire system," said state transport official requesting anonymity, as he is not allowed to speak to the media.
More auto-rickshaw drivers were booked for operating with tampered meters than for any other offence. Excess fare was the next most prevalent problem. In case of taxis, the maximum offences were those concerning excess fare (101), followed by instances of travelling with more passengers than permitted. In December, the Wadala RTO conducted one of its more aggressive drives against errant auto-rickshaws, during which it booked over 700 complaints and recovered Rs9lakh as penalty.
The department has widened its net now and is looking closely at violations on vehicles other than auto-rickshaws and taxis. "A few months ago, offences such as operating with tampered meters, refusal to ply went up. That is why we had to launch a drive to keep them in check. However, we are now conducting regular enforcement drives against all vehicles. Auto and taxis will be also inspected," said an RTO official from Wadala, on condition of anonymity.