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Fare hike forces 2,000 taxis off the road

If you have been facing some difficulties trying to hail a taxi in the city for the last few days, blame the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for taking its own sweet time to recalibrate the meters following the latest revision in fares.

Cabs
Mera number kab ayega? Cab drivers are complaining that they are facing severe losses as they are forced to stay off the roads owing to the meter recalibration delay. Representation pic

The recalibration of meters was to take place in batches so as to ensure that commuters are not inconvenienced. However, the four-hour process to recalibrate the meters for the first batch of 2,000 taxis has stretched over five to six days, and none of these cabs are back on the road yet.
Taxi drivers grumble that RTO officials have not provided the upgraded chip carrying the new fare structure.

“The revised fares are applicable but chips having the new fare structure have not been installed in any of the 35,000 taxis in the city. The agencies calibrating the meters haven’t received the revised chips from the RTO, causing 2,000 taxis to go off the road. Cab drivers are losing their bread and butter owing to the RTO’s attitude,” said A L Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s union.

Quadros added, “In the last few days we have received several complaints from citizens who are not willing to pay the new fares as the meters still show the old rates. We can’t blame them; the RTO is to be blamed for this entire mess. It announced new fares without doing its homework or thinking of the implementation of the revised fares. Recalibrated meters were to be installed within 45 days of the new fare system, but now they won’t be recalibrated before the end of December.”

Sources said that of the half-dozen firms responsible for the supply of the new chip, only one company has been able to deliver it.

“Due to different specifications, meters require different programmes to run. Since new programmes are not ready, meters are not calibrated,” said an official of an agency based in Mumbai Central that is authorised to calibrate the meters. Another agency based in Khar said it was still waiting for the chip to be delivered.

As if all this were not enough, sources told MiD DAY that auto rickshaws would soon be facing similar troubles, adding to the woes of the common man.

Transport Commissioner V N More refused to accept that the RTO had wasted time.

However, he accepted that the first lot of 2,000 chips was delivered only on Wednesday. “We have made 2,000 chips available to the agencies on Wednesday,” said More.  

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