Tampering with meters

Tampering with meters

Autorickshaw drivers in the City are notorious for over-charging — and one of the most common ways in which they do this is through tampered meters.

Commuters in Bangalore complain that the problem has become more common than ever.
What’s more, they find it very difficult to haggle with drivers over this issue because it’s hard to prove.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just the old-fashioned meters that can be tampered with; digital meters are equally vulnerable.

“I commute to work regularly by autorickshaw and literally every other day I realise that the driver has tampered with the meter. For those who are travelling to a new place, it’s hard to be sure. But since I take the same route everyday, I immediately get to know when a meter has been altered and make it a point to get off the vehicle,” says Samarth, a software engineer.

He goes on to add that tampered meters are actually more common than one would assume.

 “I spoke to an autorickshaw driver about it once. He mentioned to me that you can get a meter fixed for a moderate price at any auto repair shop — digital ones as well. It’s such a widespread practice that it’s tough to keep a check on it,” he explains.

Others feel that there needs to be a better system of complaint redressal to ensure that the problem is curbed. Nikita Manwani, a student, points out that many commuters aren’t sure about the status of their complaints and don’t know whether action has been taken against the concerned driver.

“I think the problem is more common with the old meters. The problem is that when a complaint is filed with the cops, we don’t know whether they actually take it seriously. For starters, it would be great if more attention was paid to the complaints,” she says.
She also feels that the traffic police should conduct routine checks of meters to ensure that they are operating according to the fixed fare.

Jeffery, an engineering student, agrees that it’s important for the traffic police to keep a check on the meters. However, he also admits to being disappointed by just how easy it is to tamper with one.

 “This problem is really common. I’ve encountered it often near colleges,” he says. In his opinion, there needs to be more standardisation in terms of the manufacture of these meters.

“It would help a lot of the autorickshaw meters were manufactured by a well-known company in such a way that it’s difficult to tamper with them,” he adds.

Although most commuters feel that more ought to be done on the part of the authorities, Chhaya, a professional, feels that some onus lies on the passengers as well.

“Commuters should make it a point to file complaints against autorickshaw drivers who have tampered meters. It’s impractical to assume that the authorities can control this situation on their own. Repeated complaints wil ensure that the driver’s licence is suspended,” she concludes.

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