The next time you hail a taxi or an auto rickshaw, make sure you ask the driver if the vehicle has the mandatory fitness certificate.
Many auto rickshaws and taxis in Mumbai ply on the roads without a fitness certificate, which is a document issued by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA), certifying that the vehicle is fit to ply on the roads. The certificate has to be renewed annually, after the vehicle has been thoroughly checked and examined by RTO officials.
According to RTO officials, many owners tend to ply on the roads with expired fitness certificates, claiming that the process of renewal takes a long time, or that they simply forgot to renew the certificate. If a vehicle is caught running on the roads with an expired certificate, it is suspended from plying for 10 days and is liable to a Rs 1,000 fine. After these ten days, the owner is liable to pay a fine of Rs 100 every day. Taxi and rickshaw unions have protested that the amount is too high.
Fine halved till October 31
In order to encourage more owners to get their vehicles checked, the MMRTA has reduced the fines by half. Now, owners will have to pay a fine of Rs 500 within the first 10 days, and thereafter, a fine of Rs 50 per day, until they get they get a fresh fitness certificate from the RTO. The revised fine structure is applicable to auto rickshaws, taxis and other commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks.
However, the reduced fines are only for a temporary period. A senior official from the transport authority said, “We have brought down the fines for delayed fitness certificates, and this amnesty scheme will be applicable till October 31 for this year.”
After October 31, the MMRTA will revert to the old fine structure.
old vehicles to be scrapped
Starting this August, the state government began scrapping taxis that are more than 20 years old. There are more than 4,000 taxis under this bracket. The age limit for rickshaws has also been set at 15 years. But according to the suggestions put forward by the Hakim Committee, the age limit should be set at 8 years for auto rickshaws. This is the same committee based on whose suggestions taxi and auto rickshaw unions have been demanding fare hikes.