With only five days remaining to complete recalibration of auto and taxi meters in the city, the task seems impossible as barely 50% of them are yet to reflect the new fares.
The state transport authorities ordered recalibration of all taxis and autos meters
on October 15, soon after approving the steepest-ever fare hike on October 11. The auto and taxi drivers were given until November 24 to re-set their meters, but there seems to
have been little regard for the directive.
At the Tardeo regional transport office (RTO), 10,484 digital meters in taxis have been recalibrated, with 5,500 pending, and around 6,000 mechanical ones are yet to be converted to e-meters.
“The taxi drivers are aware of the deadline. If it is extended, they will get more time to recalibrate meters; otherwise, we will start taking action on their permits, which will be seized and they won’t be able to do the business,” said Madhukar Jadhav, regional transport officer, Tardeo RTO.
For commuters, meter recalibration means relief from relying on the tariff card, which is often fake, as they will simply have to pay the fare displayed.
While at the Tardeo RTO, nearly 50% of the meters have been recalibrated, in the eastern suburbs, at the Wadala RTO, 14,000 off 33,782 auto and 2,404 out of 6,855 taxi meters have been re-set so far. The situation is most dismal at the Andheri RTO, where only 16,038 out of 56,832 auto and 1,840 out of 7,467 taxi e-meters have been recalibrated.
“We have not decided what action will be taken against those who have not recalibrated their meters; it will be decided on the final day. At present, we are concentrating on recalibrating as many meters as we can,” said Vikas Pandkar, regional transport officer at Wadala RTO.
When contacted, AL Quadros, general secretary of Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said: “We are pushing drivers to go for recalibration. All e-meters will be recalibrated by November 24, but for converting mechanical ones to e-meters, we should be given some more time.”