Mumbai transport dept gears up to recalibrate 1.3L e-meters in 45 days

Aug 14, 2014, 06:43 IST | Shashank Rao

After order from Bombay HC that commuters will not have to pay revised rates till every e-meter is recalibrated, transport department is planning to complete the task as soon as possible

It seems that, for once, the transport department is quite keen to meet the 45-day deadline set by Bombay High Court to recalibrate the electronic meters of auto rickshaws and taxis in the city. Officials are expected to begin the process from August 17, after which the meters will display the revised fares approved by the high court.

The transport department has instructed auto rickshaw and taxi drivers to not charge new fares until they have recalibrated their electronic meters. File pic
The transport department has instructed auto rickshaw and taxi drivers to not charge new fares until they have recalibrated their electronic meters. File pic

During the meeting at Andheri Regional Transport Office (RTO) on Wednesday, which was attended by the stakeholders, it was decided that by Sunday the transport department, RTOs, meter manufacturers and dealers, along with testing institutes, would prepare the new fare chart and chips with the revised fare. After which, the process of recalibrating e-metres will begin.

While officials at the transport department feel that recalibrating all autos and taxis within 45 days is nothing short of a mammoth task, State Transport Commissioner (additional charge), Satish Sahastrabudhe, said, “We aim to do everything on our part to ensure that we meet the deadline.”

Issues discussed
According to officials at the RTO, the two main issues discussed during the meeting were fixing the cost for recalibration and meeting the 45-day deadline. While the last time, the recalibration cost R450, meter manufacturers and their authorised dealers had demanded around Rs 650 per meter this time around.

Upward spiral
“The price of everything, from meters, spare parts and chips, to manpower, have gone up, and therefore, we demanded the hike,” said a meter manufacture.

But, the state made it clear during the meeting that the cost would not be set at more than Rs 500, and this figure was decided upon. This cost will be borne by the auto/taxi permit holder.

A union leader said, “There are other expenses as well, which a permit holder has to bear during the process of recalibration.”

'Fares unchanged till recalibration'
The transport department has given clear directives that auto rickshaw and taxi drivers cannot charge new fares until they have recalibrated their e-meters. “We have not given any permission to carry revised tariff cards and drivers cannot charge more until they have recalibrated their e-meters,” said Sahastrabudhe.

If an auto or taxi driver demands new fare without recalibrating, the passenger can file a complaint and the driver’s licence can be suspended. In addition, if a driver fails to get his meter recalibrated within 45 days, the RTO will suspend the permit for seven days and levy a fine of R700. After the seven days, the permit holder will have to pay Rs 50 every day until the recalibration is done.

6,000 meters a day
With 12 e-meter manufacturers and 125 authorised dealers, around 6,000 e-meters can be recalibrated in a day, according to an official from the transport department. “We are also planning to increase the number of certified testing agencies,” he added.

The testing agencies will inspect the recalibrated meters and only after approval from them can an auto or taxi go to the RTO for final approval. Currently, there are four agencies in Mumbai and officials are looking to add another four to be able to complete the work within 45 days.

Phased approach
According to the plan proposed, in the first phase, every auto rickshaw and taxi with number ending with ‘0’ will go for recalibration. “We are looking to give three days to complete the first phase.

This will help us reduce chaos at RTOs, testing institutes and e-meter dealers,” said a senior RTO official. This will be followed by auto rickshaws and taxis with numbers ending with ‘1’, ‘2’, and so on. The first auto and taxi is likely to come for approval at the transport department and RTO after August 19.

Steps for recalibration
>> The auto and taxi drivers should go to an authorised dealer and get the seal of the current e-meter removed
>> The dealer will then fit the new chip with the revised fares, for which the permit holder will pay R500
>> The meter will then be tested, first by the dealer and then by a government-certified testing agency
>> The agency will then approve or reject it, based on the functioning of the meter
>> If approved, the auto or taxi will go to the RTO for final testing
>> The RTO will test it on road to see if the recalibrated e-meter running on the designated 1.5-km stretch shows the revised fare accurately or not
>> If the test is successful, then the auto/taxi will get the final approval to run on the road

45 days
Deadline set by Bombay High Court to recalibrate all e-meters

Number of autos in Mumbai

Number of taxis in the city

If an auto or taxi driver demands new fare without recalibrating his meter, you can call on this RTO helpline number to register your complaint

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