Auto fares in Delhi likely to be hiked by 14.3%
Auto-rickshaw fares in the national Capital could go up by as much as 14.3%, according to a report submitted to the Delhi government by a state-appointed fare revision committee. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the 11-member committee has recommended that auto-rickshaw fares in the national capital be increased to ₹9.15 per kilometre as against the current rate of ₹8 per km.
However, the committee — formed in November last year — has not recommended any change in the flat rate of ₹25 that is charged for the first two kilometers on every auto-rickshaw ride.
“As per the formula used initially, we had estimated an increase of 50 paise per kilometre. But, later the committee agreed that auto drivers should be brought under the category of ‘skilled labour’. So, to include their wage earning, the rate was finally set at ₹9.15 per kilometre. At present, TSR drivers are considered unskilled,” said a member of the committee.
The committee’s report will now be reviewed by the transport minister, Kailash Gahlot, after which the final rates would be approved.
Auto fares were last increased in May, 2013 by the then Congress government led by Sheila Dikshit.
A strong vote base of the Aam Aadmi Party, there are around 98,000 registered auto-rickshaws in the city. Faced with stiff competition from app-based cab aggregators in the city, the Kejriwal government had attempted to revise auto fares once in 2016, but the plan was rolled back after auto-rickshaw unions opposed any change in fares.
On Sunday, auto-rickshaw unions said the panel’s recommendation is not in sync with the promise made by the AAP government last year.
“In July last year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had himself met representatives of auto unions and given in-principle approval to our demand of revising the rate to ₹25 for the first kilometre, followed by ₹10 for each subsequent kilometre. We will meet transport minister Kailash Gahlot and request for a
review,” said Santosh Pandey, president, Aapka Apna Auto Taxi Union.
Another committee member said the panel has not recommended any revision in the fares of RTVs, gramin sewas, Metro feeder buses, eco-friendly cabs and maxi cabs. Rates of these public transport vehicles were last revised in November 2009. Operators of these transport modes on Sunday threatened to go on strike if their fares remain unchanged.
“We had submitted our demand of increasing the rates. There has been no revision in almost a decade. There are 8,675 such vehicles in total and the Aam Aadmi Party would face the music in the upcoming
Lok Sabha elections if our demands are not heard,” said Shyam Lal Gola, general secretary of the State Transport Authority (STA) Operators’ Ekta Manch.