Saturday, July 24, 2010

Auto fare to go up from Aug 1

Auto fare to go up from Aug 1
Bangalore, July 23, DHNS:

Autorickshaw commuters in the city, who already pay the highest fare among major metros in the country, will have to pay even more from August 1.

The government on Friday announced revised fare structure, according to which the minimum fare for the first two kms of travel will be Rs 17 and Rs 8.5 for every subsequent km. At present the minimum fare is Rs 14 and Rs 7 for every additional km.

The revised city auto fares are well above the revised fares announced last month in Mumbai and Delhi. In both these cities, the revised fare is Rs 6.5 per km—Rs 2 less than the revised fare announced for Bangalore.

However, the announcement, made by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner (DC) M K Aiyappa, did not satisfy auto unions. They refused to accept the revised fare and threatened to go on indefinite strike from August 1 to press their demand for still higher rates. There are an estimated 80,000 autos plying on the City roads.

“Our demand was Rs 20 as minimum fare and Rs 10 as per km fare. We are willing to finally settle for Rs 18 as minimum fare and Rs 9 as per km fare. The public are willing to pay extra.

Their only complaint is about meter tampering and excess fare demand by auto drivers,” said H G Srinivasa Murthy, vice-president of Auto rickshaw Drivers’ Union.A transport department official said the auto unions’ demand for fare revision violated a resolution adopted on January 30, 2008 to which they were parties.

The resolution was adopted at the time of the last revision of the auto fare.
“The resolution (circular) clearly states that the next revision of auto fares may be considered only if the price of auto-LPG is increased beyond Rs. 45 per litre or after a period of three years from February 1, 2008,” the official said. The fuel price has not crossed the Rs. 45 a kilolitre mark. The three-year lock in period for the present fare expires only early next year.

No consent from drivers
When asked about the revised fare, Murthy said: “This was drafted that did not have the consent of auto unions. We do not accept the circular. It has not taken into account the cost of living and prices of essential commodities.”

According to Aiyappa, “All auto rickshaws will have to get their meters re-calibrated within a period of 60 days from then. Till then, a fare conversion chart should be used by the auto drivers. We would have it distributed at all regional transport offices (RTO) from Monday onwards.”

As soon as the announcement, about 200 auto drivers, who were present at the venue, termed the new fare as “a meagre increase.”

Quarrel ensues
But they were divided among themselves. A quarrel ensued between the representatives of various auto unions that forced policemen to resort to lathi-charge.
Two automen injured in the scuffle were admitted to Victoria Hospital and later to Mahaveer Jain Hospital for treatment. The auto unions that did not accept the revised fares have decided to hold a dharna on Saturday at Mahatma Gandhi Park on M G Road.

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