Increased fare nightmare begins

Increased fare nightmare begins

COSTLY COMMUTE

Increased fare nightmare begins

With the Delhi government giving in to the long pending demand of the autowallahs to increase the fares, get ready to burn hole in your pocket. Many who go through a bickering session with auto drivers on a regular basis, will be left with no option other than to pay 25 per cent extra.  

With this, the minimum fare of Compressed Natural Gas-run public transport vehicles like autos has gone up from Rs 19 to Rs 25 for the first two kilometres and the subsequent fare for each kilometre is Rs 8 instead of the current Rs 6.50. The fares of the non-AC taxis has also gone up from Rs 11 to 14 and the AC taxis’ fare is up from Rs 13 to 16.

This undoubtedly makes commuting by autos and taxis an expensive affair now but what concerns the citizens is the overcharging by auto drivers and their refusal to go to a particular destination if commuters don’t agree to pay. “Keeping in mind the demands of the autorickshaw union, the Delhi government has increased the fare but there is no one to keep a check on these drivers who will now charge money over the meter,” says Neha Kapoor, assistant HR manager in a private firm.

“The hike will lead to more overcharging, especially at night. Auto drivers take a very rude stance towards commuters during night hours. Considering that girls are more scared after the rape cases, auto drivers will now charge as per their whim and fancy,” says Neha, who is worried about how she will cope in the coming days.

Though the government claims that with union demands now being met, ‘strict action’ would be taken against drivers who overcharge, misbehave or refuse to go to any destination, commuters beg to disagree.

“This will never happen,” says Niraj Dushyant, an executive. “The tall claims will fall flat. There won’t be any change in the attitude of these auto drivers. Now, you will have to fight more to go by the meter. And if by any chance we are stuck in any situation we will have to pay them what they demand. Police too would be least interested in taking action against the autowallahs if we complain.”

Even as the hike, fear of overcharging, misbehaviour and refusal to go to a destination haunts citizens, the auto rickshaw union is asking the commuters to keep the faith. “The public is a part of us. We cannot make them unhappy,” says Rajinder Soni, a union member. “We have appealed to auto drivers to go by the meter and not to harass commuters. And we will have no problem if the police take stern action against those who don’t go by the meter,” he says.

But this consolation is insufficient for a middle-class family and young boys and girls whose monthly budget will be drastically affected. Twenty-five year old Abhilasha, who works in a hospital says, “The Government has increased the fare but our salary has not increased so we will have to bear the extra cost. We will either go by the bus or metro now. Before taking this decision, the government should have at least increased the numbers and the conditions of the buses. Commuting will now become a herculean task.” Very true!

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