Consumer activists have opposed the Rs. 3 fare hike in taxi and autorickshaw fares recommended by the Hakim Committee and have demanded that no hikes should be effected until all auto and taxi drivers convert to electronic meters.
The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP), an umbrella organisation of several consumer bodies, made a presentation to transport secretary Shailesh Sharma regarding the fare revision on Thursday.
“Drivers tamper with mechanical meters and misuse them to overcharge passengers. This is rampant and therefore, no fare hike should be enforced on passengers unless this practice stops completely,” said Shirish Deshpande, chairperson, MGP.
In a 19-page letter to the state government, the MGP called the Hakim Committee recommendations ‘lopsided, arbitrary, based on inflated and unrealistic cost prices and against consumer interest.’
The committee report, submitted to the state on July 27, recommended a base fare of Rs13.08 and Rs10 for taxis and autos respectively, for a distance of 1-km. At present, a minimum fare of Rs17 and Rs12 is charged by taxis and autos respectively.
However, according to the MGP’s calculations, the commuter should be charged a fare of Rs11.15 and Rs8.43 in taxis and autos respectively.
The committee has also opposed the suggestion to reduce the minimum distance from 1.6 km to 1.5 km. Instead, they demanded that the minimum distance be brought down to 1km, as per the Terms of Reference (TOR) given by the state government.
The body has also opposed the suggestion to increase night charges by five per cent, and annual fare revisions on May 1. “The TOR is the mandate that the committee is supposed to follow. The committee has crossed its jurisdiction and we will oppose it strongly,” said Deshpande.
Sharma said: “They have submitted their views to us. We will also speak to auto and taxi unions on September 10. We will also ask for the transport commissioners remarks.”