Auto drivers, who have been demanding tariff revision for a while now, are unhappy with the marginal hike that came into effect on Monday.
The hike is 50 paise more for every kilometre after the first 1.6 kilometres, for which the basic fare remains unchanged at Rs11.
Drivers complain that the hike has merely attracted the commuter’s wrath and that it’s too low to make a difference. “The hike is too minor. It hardly serves any point,” said Sambhunath Yadav, a driver from Kandivli.
Another driver said the new fare structure would increase the friction between commuters and drivers. “Both sides will find it difficult to lay hands on enough 50 paise coins,” said Laxmishankar Yadav, another driver.
Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of the Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union, the biggest auto union in the city, said: “The 50 paise hike is a joke. The government has not been able to explain on what basis it has arrived at this revised structure.” Rao claimed the drivers are so disappointed they will start returning the extra 50 paisa.
Another union leader, Thampy Kurien, said he has complained to the transport authorities. “I have complained to the transport commissioner and transport secretary to round off the decimal amount,” he said.
Drivers are also upset that after such a marginal hike, they can expect the next revision only in two years. Following the October 4 auto strike, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who heads the transport department, had convened a meeting with union leaders where he said he was in favour of fare revision once in two years.
“We have lost on both ends. People are angry and the fare hike is not even going to fetch me an extra Rs10 a day. Joining the strike was a bad idea,” said Ramkishor Yadav, a driver from Malad.