Sharad Rao, president of Mumbai Autorickshawmen's Union, on Tuesday suggested that setting up more share-rickshaw spots was the solution to meter tampering and fare refusal problems. Talking to HT on Wednesday, he added that meters should be done away with completely.
"We don't want meters at all — neither electronic nor mechanical. That would end all debate over tampering. Besides, the RTO should issue more permits so that there are more rickshaws on road. It will lead to competition among rickshaw drivers, who will be eager to grab business."
Commuters and transport experts, however, disagree and feel that share-rickshaw stands should co-exist with regular ones and passengers should have the choice of commuting the way they want.
"Share-rickshaws could be a huge inconvenience for pregnant women, senior citizens or the handicapped, as they drop you on the main road. Not everyone is in a position to walk from the drop-off point all the way home, which could be some distance away," said Aftab Siddique, a social activist from Bandra.
Instead of enforcing one system or another, commuters should be allowed to choose, he added.
Transport activist Mohammad Afzal said that the share-rickshaw system is more economical and is likely to reduce queues at rickshaw stands.
Other transport activists also backed the concept. "In a share-rickshaw system, three people travel using the same amount of fuel which would otherwise be burnt for a single passenger. However, meters should not be withdrawn completely. The ultimate choice should be left with passenger," said Chandrashekar Khandekar, transport expert and member of Mumbai Vikas Samiti.