With cab drivers unable to get their e-meters recalibrated according to the new tariff, more than 72 hours after the hike in taxi fares came into effect, transport authorities have come out with a new tariff card for taxis fitted with e-meters.
The tariff cards have been distributed amongst taxi unions will be valid till May 31, till all e-meters are recalibrated.
"The new cards give the revised fare against the distance traveled. They also have a column with the old fare. This will help passengers to check if they are being overcharged," said transport commissioner VN More.
Transport officials hope this will end the confusion over the fare hike and resultant tussles between passengers and cabbies over the exact fare.
From Monday, taxi fares in the city have risen from Rs16 to Rs17 for the first of 1.6 km and 50 paise for every subsequent stage. However, cabbies have been unable to get their e-meters reset according to the new fares because a component called the chipset, which needs to be replaced to recalibrate the e-meter, is not available and will take a couple of days to come to the market.
"A lot of work goes into making the chipsets," said Kirti Nair, of Sansui, an e-meter manufacturing company. "We will require at least two days to make them available," said Anil Samuel, of Dialtone systems, another e-meter manufacturer.
Manufacturers say that the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority (MMRTA) delayed the issuance of tariff cards with the revised fares. Manufacturers claim they got the tariff card only at the beginning of the week, though the decision to hike fares was taken on March 13. "How can we make chipsets available in such a short time?" asked an e-meter manufacturer.
Taxi unions, too, blame the MMRTA. "The MMRTA should have taken care of all these things before the fare hike," said union leader Al Quadros.
After a decision on the fare hike was taken, transport authorities came out with new tariff cards, distributed to cabbies and taxi unions. Though these can be used by taxis fitted with mechanical meters, e-meters display the fare along with the distance traveled, making a tariff card redundant.