Auto-rickshaw fares hiked but not many know about it
New auto-rickshaw fares came into effect in the national Capital on Tuesday but only a few commuters and auto drivers were aware of the 18.75% hike. The Delhi government issued a public notice about the auto fares, which were revised after a gap of nearly six years, on Tuesday.
As per the revised rates, the meter down charge will be Rs 25 for the first 1.5km, instead of existing 2km. The per kilometre charge has been increased from existing Rs 8 to Rs 9.5, which is a hike of around 18.75%.
The waiting charge will be Rs 0.75 per minute if an auto is caught up at a traffic signal. Luggage charges and night charges have been kept the same.
Abhay Raj, a 48 year old auto-rickshaw driver, was unaware of the fare hike on Tuesday evening and was charging passengers the old rates. “The amount that we earn is so meagre that increase of even a paisa makes a difference to us. I have been riding an auto since 1995,” he said.
Transport department official said recalibration of fare meters in auto-rickshaws will take time as it will be undertaken in batches.
“Till then, auto-drivers can keep a chart of the revised fares to show to passengers,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The city has about 95,000 registered autos.
Another auto driver, Suraj Chauhan, 23, feared that the increase in the fare would result in further decline in his income. “It is better if auto rates do not increase. If they (government) are actually increasing our fares then more people will start taking Ola and Uber cabs. The cab aggregators have already hurt our business,” he said.
Mayank Dutt, 27, a self-employed man, said auto-rickshaw fare hike does not concern him, as more often than not, the autowallahs refuse to ply by the meter. “I am perpetually overcharged,” he added.
Bandana Kumari, a second year Delhi University student, agreed that autos seldom charge by meter. “I am a day scholar, who goes to college on a shoestring budget. Uber and Ola are definitely expensive and it is not everywhere that the Metro can go. We are dependent on autos for last mile connectivity. This is going to take a toll on my monthly budget,” she said.
Pooja Dwivedi, a finance salesperson, said, “I would rather take an Ola over autos. At least there is some parameter on which they charge, unlike here which is so random and sometimes absurd. If I am over- paying, I at least feel safe (in a cab).”