A day after the city saw its steepest auto and taxi fare hike, Hindustan Times on Friday conducted two random inspections to see whether the drivers were fleecing commuters using fake tariff cards and by rigging meters.
First, two HT reporters hailed two autos, getting in at the same spot and stopping at the same pre-determined destination.
Similarly, the reporters also hailed two taxis from the same spot and compared fares after getting out at the same destination to check for tampered meters.
HT took senior inspector Vinayak Mule of Goregaon traffic police (near the Aarey Colony signal) into confidence and he aided HT’s inspection by directing constables to wait at a pre-determined spot — the traffic police outpost at Goregaon (east).
Auto meter was faulty, fare difference considerable
Vaishnavi and Sanjana took two autos that were less than 100 metres apart separately for Goregaon.
While Vaishnavi boarded the auto (MH 02 SA 9350) from Bombay bus stand, Sanjana got into an auto (MH 02 SA 6710) that was not part of the queue at the nearby auto stand.
Both left Dahisar Check Naka at the same time and followed the same route. After they got off near the Goregaon traffic outpost, they compared the fares.
While Vaishnavi’s auto’s e-meter reading was 6, which amounts to Rs114 as per the new fare, Sanjana’s auto had a mechanical meter and its reading was 7.10, which would cost Rs. 136.
Shiva Rathod, the 38-year-old driver, insisted that Sanjana was confused as the new tariff had just come into effect.
As there was a considerable fare difference, we asked the constables at the traffic outpost to intervene. Rathod’s auto and licence have been impounded and submitted to Andheri RTO.
“If the meter is found rigged, he will be fined between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 15,000,” Mule said.
The RTO has found the meter to be faulty.
Cabbies had new tariff cards, didn’t overcharge
Vaishnavi and Sanjana took two separate taxis from the Aarey signal at Goregaon (east) to Mahim church.
While Sanjana’s taxi (MH 01 AT 6777) showed a reading of 15.77 km, amounting to Rs. 195, Vaishnavi’s taxi (MH 01 AT 6599) showed a reading of 15.43 km, amounting to Rs. 191.
Both cabs were running on e-meters, both drivers had their licences and updated tariff cards.