Two weeks after the state government made it compulsory to install electronic meters in new autorickshaws, two auto owners got their vehicles registered with e-meters at Wadala regional transport office (RTO) on Wednesday.
The two RTOs in the city — at Andheri and Wadala — usually receive about 10 to 15 applications for registration of new autos every day, but since the new meters were made compulsory on March 1, no auto owner has approached them.
Auto union leader Sharad Rao has challenged the government decision in the high court. The state filed its reply in the case on Wednesday, and the next hearing will take place on March 26.
Vikas Pandkar, regional transport officer, Wadala, welcomed the decision of the two auto owners to comply with the new norm. “Until now, auto owners were adamant on not installing e-meters so that they could continue to fleece passengers, but they are now taking the initiative,” he said.
The two autos owners are members of a private firm, www.rickshawale.com.
“Lots of doubts have been raised about the e-meters — their reading, whether they can be tampered, and so on. Hence, we will initially install them in a few autos, and then gradually in the rest 400,” said Hemant Jain, director of Eureka Trans Solutions Services that runs the website. It is the first firm to launch a call-to-book rickshaw service that can be availed by paying Rs20 more than the normal fare.
From April 1, e-meters will be made compulsory in old autos as well.
“Every auto has to undergo an annual fitness test at least once a year, and 250 to 300 approach us for the fitness certificate every day.
From April onwards, autos will not be issued the certificate if they don’t have digital meters. If they ply without the certificate, they will be penalised Rs 2,000,” Pandkar said.