Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fare hike demand isn't fair

Fare hike demand isn't fair
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement...

On March 15, 2006, all autorickshaw drivers’ associations of Bangalore had signed an agreement with Road Transport Authority (RTA) that they will not demand for fare hike till per litre cost of auto LPG crosses Rs 40. The drivers then readily signed the pact as RTA accepted their demand to hike the minimum fare from Rs 10 to 12.

Cut to 2008. The same drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement. They started demanding the hike following recent increase of Rs 2 in auto LPG price.

Why was the agreement signed? It was believed autorickshaw drivers will not incur loss unless the auto LPG price crosses Rs 40 per litre. “The average mileage of per litre of auto LPG is 20 km. With the present fare (Rs 12 minimum and Rs 6 for every km), drivers stand to gain,” say official sources.

“If a vehicle rides for, say, 10 km with the passenger, the total fare chargeable is Rs 60, which is almost double the cost of per litre fuel. And the driver still has fuel to run 10 more kms. So, the average profit will be Rs 80 to 85 for every litre of auto LPG,” officials explained.

Why drivers are going back on their agreement? “I agree our demand is against the agreement. But we were forced to demand as cost of living has gone up in two years. The cost of milk, house rent, land rate, school tuition fee and others have gone up,” State General Secretary of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Driver’s Union B S Narayanamurthy argued.

He further said autorikshaw drivers are in a bad shape and a slight increase in the fare, will do them a lot of good.

But officials, who do not want to be quoted, call the drivers greedy. “If they are so particular that the fare has to be hiked corresponding to increase in auto LPG price, why didn’t they voluntarily come forward to reduce the fare when the LPG price came down by Rs 1.20 last year?...It’s really mean on their part,” officials stated.

In fact, autorikshaw drivers’ associations’ initial reaction when auto LPG price went up last month, was mixed. While Karnataka Rajiv Gandhi Autorickshaw Drivers’ Association said it will not demand for fare hike, two others, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union and Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, demanded the hike. However, the association that was against fare hike later joined hands with other two in their protest. A series of protests, including a dawn-to-dusk bundh, were being staged pressing for fulfilment of the demand. They also held a Raj Bhavan chalo on Monday.

Even before RTA could take a decision on fare hike, many autorickshaw drivers have started fleecing the public.

Facts to chew on
*Per litre of auto LPG costs Rs 35.58
* Average mileage per litre 20 km
* Present autorickshaw fare:
Minimum Rs 12 and Rs 6 for every km (after minimum)
* Average profit per litre of auto LPG is Rs 80


“The sub-committee has gone into all details and made some recommendations. Arguments of both autorickshaw drivers and the public have been taken into consideration. We will take a decision in the interest of both parties.”
-- RTA secretary Rudra Nayak


The government has set up a sub-committee headed by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq, RTA officials and others to look into the demand and submit a report with recommendations. RTA will take a final decision on January 30.


At Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 5:07:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger Brian said...

Something that's been bothering me now is that even though fuel prices have come down by quite a bit (Rs 10 for petrol) we haven't seen any downward revision by auto guys. BMTC has reduced their fares by 20 - 30 percent owing to this drop in fuel prices but there is no news from the auto association. Why isnt' our government waking up to this...



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