Unhappy with the fare hike approved by the state on Tuesday, the city’s biggest auto union has no plans of withdrawing its call for an indefinite strike from November 9.
As per the new tariff — in effect from October 10 — the basic fare of Rs11 for 1.6 kilometres will not change, but for every kilometre after that, you will get charged 50 paise more.
The Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Men’s Union said it is looking for a complete revision of the tariff structure. “This is a minor hike. We still want a revision of the formula used to devise the fare,” said Sharad Rao, leader of the union. “We will send a detailed proposal to the transport commissioner and discuss it on October 14.”
Commuters are furious that the government has approved a hike less than 24 hours after the second auto strike in two weeks. “It is not the correct move to bow down to the demands of unions working for political gains,” said Pradeep Ambre, a video editor who travels by auto daily.
Archana Adhav, an engineer with a private firm, agrees. “This will send the signal that the state has bowed to pressure tactics,” she said. “And will auto drivers stop tampering meters?”
State officials said the decision to increase the fare was taken on September 30. “The fare is derived on the basis of recommendations made by the Hakim committee report. The amount was calculated after considering factors such as price of vehicle, insurance premium, Consumer Price Index (CPI) and other things,” said Vikas Pandkar, regional transport officer, Wadala, and member-secretary, Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority.
The last hike was in June 2010, when the basic fare was raised from Rs 9 to Rs11. Before that, the tariff had been raised in 2004 from Rs 8 to Rs 9.