For once the Maharashtra government seems to be in no mood to bend rules for Mumbai’s auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers. The state transport department has decided to levy stringent punishment and fines on drivers and permit holders who don’t recalibrate their meters to the revised tariff and also those who don’t display the revised tariff cards and identity cards when asked by commuters.
According to the official note released by the state transport department, the deadline for autos and taxis with e-meters to get recalibrated to the new tariff is December 15 and its January 31 for vehicles with mechanical meters.
The taxi and auto drives though can’t take the deadline casually this time around since the government plans to stringently enforce the rule.
If the autos and taxis fail to recalibrate their e-meters by the deadline, the Regional Transport Office (RTOs) will suspend the driving license for a period of one day to maximum of seven days. Moreover, they will also levy fines ranging from Rs 50 to a maximum of Rs 700 during this period.
Currently, off the approximately 1.5 lakh auto-rickshaws, nearly 30,000 have mechanical meters and around 1,000 autos having e-meters need to be recalibrated. Similarly, off the 42,000 taxis on the streets, around 14,000 taxis have mechanical meters while 28,000 have e-meters.
“Hardly 400-odd e-meter taxis need to be recalibrated. But the government seems to be only levying unnecessary fines and aren’t doing much for the welfare of drivers,” said A Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
Further, if these drivers fail to display updated tariff cards when demanded and don’t display their identity cards it will attract fines of Rs 500 onwards apart from suspension of their driving licenses for 5 days by the RTOs.
“The measures are very stringent,” complained Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary, Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union.
Also, after the deadline is past, the drivers’ licenses can be suspended anywhere between 1 to 10 days and fines starting from Rs 100 to Rs 1000 will be levied if they fail to carry and are caught without necessary certificates of recalibration.