Auto drivers invent waiting charges to fleece passengers

Published: 29 October, 2013 02:15 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate |

Despite meters being recalibrated with waiting charge component included in it, several auto drivers are demanding excess money from passengers

A fortnight after the auto rickshaw fare revision came into effect, it seems some auto rickshaw drivers are fleecing commuters, demanding extra waiting charges from them. Drivers say the new meters have not been recalibrated with the waiting charge component included in it, and hence force passengers to shell out excess money.

Vivek Velankar, a social activist, said, “We observed that some auto rickshaw drivers cheat passengers saying that they have to pay more than what is displayed on the meter as waiting charges. This excess amount is stated as per their wishes.

“So, we wrote a letter to the RTO regarding the same. They replied that passengers should only pay whatever fare shows up on the meter, as the waiting charges have been included. Moreover, they say that if the auto rickshaw still has the old meter, then the fare has to be calculated as per the chart provided, which displays the new and old fare.”

N Jadhav, an auto rickshaw driver, said, “We are confused what to charge the passengers, as the waiting charges are not calculated correctly at times because some of the rickshaws have not been recalibrated yet.”  Pune CityAutorickshaw Federation president Rajendre Bhave said “As per the new tariff norms, the waiting charges are Rs 42 per hour, which was Rs 36 earlier.

So it is an increase and auto rickshaw drivers are confused because of this. But, I appeal to the passengers to pay whatever shows up on the meter. This confusion will prevail till all meters are recalibrated with the revised tariff. If any driver is over charging, then it is illegal for sure”

RTO officer Arun Yeola said, “Since we have adjusted the waiting charges in the meter, no extra charges should be paid by passengers. All commuters must pay only according to the fare displayed in the meter. The recalibration deadline has been set for November 30.” Yeola also pointed that the new traffic card is updated on their website, which can be downloaded and used by passengers.”

“I travelled from Kothrud to Camp wherein the meter showed Rs 111 and as per the new tariff I was supposed to pay Rs 134. But, I was asked to pay Rs 10 extra, as the auto driver said it is the waiting charge and it is not added in the tariff,” said Gayatri Joshi.

Grievances can be lodged on the above number set up by the traffic department. The helpline will address any problems in any area. All you have to do is give the auto number, tell the area and action will be taken as soon a possible, said RTO officials 

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