With Tuesday's meeting between meter recalibration firms and auto, taxi drivers’ unions ending in a stalemate, commuters may be in for some bad news.
The Legal Meteorology Department (LMD) is considering reintroducing the tariff cards, which were sheets with kilometre-wise fares printed on them.
The cards were replaced with electronic meters because drivers often fleeced commuters using fake rate charts.
“The rate cards are one of the options we are considering. Of course, we don’t want to go back to using them. Nothing has been finalised yet,” said Sanjay Pande, controller LMD. The department is also considering introducing a mobile application to calculate fares.
Drivers unions are up in arms over what they call the exorbitant amounts firms are demanding to recalibrate the meters.
AL Quadros, veteran taxi union leader, said meter manufacturers are asking for an inflated cost for recalibration, and are not ready to come down to a reasonable price. “Therefore, we have made demanded temporary re-introduction of tariff cards. We have written to the transport department and the LMD about it,” he said.
In the meeting held on Tuesday, sources said the meter manufactures and repairs are ready to slash down their rates to Rs 600, while the drivers are not willing to pay more than Rs 500.
“We have offered the best price that we can afford. We can’t go below that,” said a meter manufacturer, requesting anonymity.
Commuters’ activists said they will oppose the move to bring back tariff cards, as it is not in the interest of the commuters. “Though MMRTA has approved the fare hike, the issue is pending in the high court. What is hurry to start recalibration?” said Varsha Raut, advocacy and campaign head of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
So far, the RTO was responsible for the meter recalibration process, but now the LMD has taken up the job.
Pandey said meter manufactures should upgrade meters without any charge, but they are asking for Rs 200 per meter. There are 12 manufacturers and on an average, each of them is going to earn Rs 30 lakh through the recalibration process, he said.