Mumbai: No tampering with e-meters, taxi drivers warned

With new fares, union leaders have warned drivers not to tweak the electronic meters. The State Transport department has also started the process of issuing taxi permits

Remember the last time you were travelling by a taxi, and had to pay night charge, even though your watch showed it was still five minutes to midnight? Well, this situation must surely find resonance with many people who travel late in the night and often find a mismatch between the time displayed on the electronic meters and their wrist watches or cell phones. Night charge, normally, is levied the minute the e-meter strikes 12 at night. However, technically, the late charge needs to be implemented with a buffer time of an extra five minutes. With the new tariff in place — Rs 21 for taxis and Rs 17 for auto rickshaws — the night charge is expected to be a good 25 per cent more than the normal fare.

At present, there are 36,000 taxis plying on Mumbai roads

No tampering
Sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) say that many drivers purposely ask the meter repairers to tweak their e-meters, so that they run faster. The e-metres are mostly tampered with during the checking of batteries. Union leaders claim they have asked their drivers to refrain from such illegal activities. “Many drivers do not pay attention while their e-metres are getting repaired. These things can sometimes happen by mistake,” said taxi union leader AL Quadros.

Taxi permits being issued
While there are already 36,000 black-and-yellow taxis plying on Mumbai roads, there are plans to bring in more. The State Transport department has started the process of issuing 7,843 taxi permits since yesterday. These permits will be given to those who fulfill certain criteria, including being a domicile of Maharashtra for more than 15 years, minimum educational qualification of Class X, knowledge of Marathi and a valid driving license.

The taxis which will be operated on CNG in Mumbai, will have to be fitted with a digital electronic fare meter with printer and the driver will have to install GPS/GPRS, RFID Tag, Tachometer, Roof Top Indicator in taxi whenever the government makes it mandatory. Finally, these taxis will have to display the RTO complaint (toll free) numbers, Police and Women’s helpline numbers along with a colour copy of the permit along with driver’s licence at places clearly visible to all passengers.

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