Friday, August 13, 2010

No more laxity on the digital meters for city autorickshaws

No more laxity on the digital meters for city autorickshaws

Minister for transport, R Ashok, who is also the minister in charge of Bangalore city, is anxious to resolve the problems of commuters in the city at the earliest. The minister announced on Thursday that the government had withdrawn an earlier directive that it had issued, making it mandatory for autorickshaws to have a single-glass pane instead of the present three-panel wind shields. This will save the owners of autos some expense, and it has brought much relief. However, commuters still have grievances galore. There are frequent complaints of overcharging and of tampering with the meters. At the end of the tether, many commuters decided to opt out of the auto ride on Thursday. However, commuters are a diffuse and poorly organised group, and they have no single representative organisation in the city. R Ashok spoke to Rohith BR about how he plans to come to the aid of auto commuters in the city.
The Meter Jam campaign was organised by commuters on Thursday. What are you doing to address the problems of those dependent on Bangalore's autos?
I am fully aware of the problems of commuters in the city. Auto drivers have been breaching all the norms, and we will now ensure that digital meters are installed in all autos.
It is not as if the digital meters are tamper-free. Also, meters manufactured by different units seem to be making different kinds of readings.
We have received complaints. We will be short-listing four to five companies which manufacture standardised metres. We will make it mandatory for auto drivers to install metres only from these companies.
Such promises have been made in the past. Commuters are now fed up.
We understand that commuters have reached the limit of their patience. In the coming weeks, meetings will be held with unions of auto drivers. Digitisation of meters, the behaviour of drivers with customers and other aspects will be discussed at these meetings, and we will hammer out a solution for the problems commuters face.
Do you have a deadline for the fixing of the digital meters in all autos? Will there be a subsidy for installing them?
The date will be fixed after the meeting with the auto unions. We are in discussions about the subsidy for the installation of digital meters, but no decision has yet been taken.
How will you attend to complaints about the behaviour of auto drivers, and their unwillingness to go where commuters would have them go?
This is really another major concern. Our first priority is to get the digital meters fixed in all autos. Once that is done, we will be taking up the issue of auto drivers who are not behaving as they should with commuters, and frequently refuse to take commuters to their destination.


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