Meters of less than half the autorickshaws and taxis that ply on city roads had been recalibrated till Saturday, the deadline set by the transport authority for recalibration.
The transport department will now have to decide whether to extend the recalibration date or stop vehicles with un-recalibrated meters from plying on roads.
The Metropolitan Region Transport Authority, while approving auto and taxi fare hikes according to the Hakim panel’s formula from October 11, had set of a November 24 deadline for recalibration of meters to the new fare system.
Of the 1.5 lakh autos and taxis on city streets, only 64,000 have been recalibrated in past 45 days. This includes 18,706 taxis and 45,298 autorickshaws registered with all three regional transport offices (RTOs).
Most autos and taxis with electronic meters have been recalibrated, but many autos and taxis fitted with mechanical meters were hard to calibrate and mechanics were reluctant to calibrate those, said RTO sources.
Earlier, transport department had said that it won’t allow un-calibrated vehicles to ply, but officials feel that this is not practical because of limited manpower, and that the deadline be extended. The department is expected to review the meter recalibration process next week. VN More, transport commissioner, was unavailable for comment.
Even unions are demanding that the deadline be extended till mid December. “We lost out on a whole week because of the Diwali holidays and virtual shutdown of the city after Bal Thackeray’s demise. The government should compensate for those days,” taxi union leader AL Quadros said. He added that taxis have no problem in charging the old fares, if their meters were not recalibrated.
The transport authority has reduced the minimum traveling distance from 1.6km to 1.5km and meter-changing distance to 100 m from 167m and 200 m in taxis and autos respectively, which is why recalibration is important.