Tired of the constant guessing, if the meters in auto rickshaws are correct or are tampered with, commuter organisations in the city want the state transport officials to train people in understanding how auto drivers could tamper electronic meters.

The need for such an innovative request comes from associations at a time when people are aware that most of the mechanical meters fitted in autos are tampered with. "We have asked RTOs to educate young members of our association, who in turn could tutor passengers, either by conducting classes or with the help of the Internet," said K Parmeshwar, founder of Mumbai Auto Commuters Association.

Tamper proof: It's far more easier to tell if an electronic meter has
been tampered with, than a mechanical meter in auto rickshaws. File pic

Test drive
Moreover, recently, selected members of an auto union attempted to show consumer representatives of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) how an electronic meter could be easily tampered. But the union members were left red faced, when the tampered meter clearly showed an error and the tampering was evident.

"We cannot make individual changes in either distance or fare else an error message pops up," said Shirish Deshpande, member of MGP. Both the distance and the fares are linked and cannot be tampered with individually.

Deshpande was also convinced with the need to educate people in the working of electronic meters to be essential, once it is fitted in auto rickshaws. The commuter organisations hope to exploit social networking sites to create awareness in help in identifying altered electronic meters. This they feel would help them reach a larger public base.