Your commute in an air-conditioned Meru fleet cab is all set to become costlier. The state transport department has accepted the proposal to increase basic fare by Rs 2 and a subsequent increase of Re 1 for every kilometre.
This was one of the foremost demands made by Meru Cab drivers, who were on strike for the last eight days. State transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, on Tuesday, asked officials from his department to finalise the new rates.
“We have accepted the proposal and it has been forwarded to the transport secretary and state transport authority (STA). It is a formality, as they have to approve this proposal,” said Vikhe-Patil.
At present, the minimum fare for a Meru Cab is Rs 20, and it increases by Rs 14 for every subsequent kilometer. “We have received a provisional approval for the hike. The government is expected to give clearance soon,” said Gavin D’abreo, vice-president, Meru Cabs.
Once the hike is cleared by the STA, the new basic fare would be Rs 22 and the fare for subsequent kilometer would be Rs 15.
“We would study the requirement for other fleet cabs too,” added Vikhe-Patil. “Yet, I feel that the fleet companies should rethink about increasing fares as they should realise that it wouldn’t attract commuters.”
According to sources in the transport department, the hike is imminent as even the black and yellow taxis and autorickshaws have recently got a fare hike.
“We have accepted the proposal and would soon take a decision,” said C Sangitrao, transport secretary. On September 6, the Meru Cab drivers went on a strike, which was finally called off on Monday.
The Shiv Sena-led Meru Cab Drivers Union, which the company doesn’t recognise, met officials from the transport department and officials from Meru Cabs to resolve the issue.
Even Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray sent a message to the state transport department through senior party leaders — Subhash Desai and Vinayak Raut. On Tuesday, Raut also held a meeting with the drivers, who continued to remain on strike, outside the Meru Cabs office in Malad.
“The drivers complained that the company took signatures on papers, which stated that the driver would be sacked if they again went on strike. So, the drivers were standing outside the Meru office till evening,” said Raut, who is also the president of the Meru Cab Drivers Union.