Commuters in Mumbai can expect respite from the problem of rigged meters in taxis and autorickshaws. Recalibration and repairing of meters are also likely to get easier, with taxi and autorickshaw unions entering the business.
Mumbai Taximen’s Union, one of the largest taxi unions in the city, has already acquired a licence for repairing meters, and the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s union, the largest auto union in the state, is in process of getting it, sources said. Some smaller unions are also in the fray.
At present, auto rickshaw and taxi drivers depend on about 150-200 meter repairers for recalibration and repairing, for which they claim they are overcharged.
Unions and repair centres often don’t see eye to eye, leading to delayed processes, which inconvenience passengers. For the last two years, meter recalibration has been delayed owing to differences between unions and meter repairers over charges for the service.
“Several meter repairers don’t have qualifications prescribed under the legal meteorology act. Unions have skilled manpower with requisite qualifications,” said Sanjay Pandey, controller of Legal Meteorology department, confirming the development.
While unions have claimed the move is just an attempt to benefit their members and the service will be run on a no-profit no-loss basis, sources in the transport sector said it will also help them attract new members.
“We have acquired the meter repairing licence so we can serve people better,” said Shashank Rao, leader of Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s union. The business will be run through their consumer credit society, he said.
The taxi union has acquired the licence in the name of Mumbai Taximen’s Services limited, and will appoint dealers in all parts of the city, said AL Quadros, veteran taxi union leader.
“We have entered the area to safeguard the interests of our members,” he said.
Some union leaders, however, expressed concerns that with unions entering the meter repairing business, drivers will have nowhere to register grievances with the process.
“If a driver complains of meter rigging, will these unions support him,” asked Nilesh Chavan, leader of Mumbai Chalak Malak Sena.