With effect from yesterday Mumbaikars are now paying higher fares for both cabs and rickshaws. There has been a jump fares for these two modes of transport — Rs 19 for minimum cab fare, up from Rs 17. The commuter also pays Rs 15 as minimum for rickshaw as opposed to Rs 11 earlier, a substantial increase of Rs 3. With rising inflation costs, it was natural that cabbies and rickshaws demand a fare hike. The commuter has little choice but to go along with the decision.
Let’s not waste time arguing if the the hike was warranted or not. One can only say now that since its implementation will result in considerable pinching of pockets, it is desirable that autorickshawwallahs and cabbies keep up their part of the bargain.
This means that they stop saying no to plying to certain destinations at certain times. This is the most common problem and has caused serious friction between cabbies and commuter of late. Several campaigns have been waged, in order to force the cabbies and rickshaws to take passengers. The commonest grouse against both these will be that they simply refuse to ply at times. The cabbie in a deceitful show will at times open the hood of his vehicle and pretend to repair it if he does not want to take the passenger. Rickshaws, especially at railway stations, operate in packs, literally holding commuters to ransom. We have not even come to problems like tampered meters, overcharging; the no change excuse. Now, that the commuter is paying more, he has to expect better service from the public providers. There is a high level of frustration and anger amongst commuters, and the fare hike has only compounded this. It is time the rickshaws and taxis get their act together. While one is not tarring everybody with the same brush, authorities have to crack the whip to ensure that both sides get a fair deal.